Tag Archives: USMNT

LAFC Weekly Roundup: Preseason, Vissel Kobe, USMNT update, Gold Links

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club kicked off their six-match preseason with a 3-1 victory against Toronto FC on Sunday evening.

Andre Horta, Diego Rossi, and newcomer, Peter-Lee Vassell scored all three goals for the home side, while Toronto’s Drew Moor pulled one back for the visitors late in the match.

Baggio Husidic, former LA Galaxy midfielder, who is on trial with the club – made his debut for LAFC after entering for Eduard Atuesta before halftime. If given a contract, he can provide some depth in the midfield area.

Although it was only the first match and the results don’t benefit much, it was nice to see a win from the Black and Gold after a string of losses that ended their season early last year.

LAFC will host Columbus Crew, Atlanta United, San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver in Banc of California stadium for the remainder of preseason.

Supporters and the public are invited to attend the second-ever international friendly and season ticket members will have an opportunity to attend the final preseason match on Saturday, Feb. 23.

USMNT Update: Zimmerman and Ramirez scores in Sunday’s win

The United States Men’s National Team kicked off a new era under new head coach Gregg Berhalter on Sunday, opening their 2019 campaign with a 3-0 shutout against Panama at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Following the opening goal from Chicago Fire’s Djordje Mihailovic in the 40th minute, LAFC’s favorite duo Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez scored a pair of goals back-to-back – securing the 3-0 shutout. 

January has been a busy month for Zimmerman. After much speculation, Zimmerman and LAFC agreed to a new four-year contract. The center back returns as an elite defender in his prime years – having six years of MLS experience and has been a regular for the U.S. Men’s National Team over the last year.

But Zimmerman wasn’t the only player from the Black and Gold to contribute – Ramirez, 27, earned his first international cap and marked the special occasion with a goal in the 89th minute.

Zimmerman and Ramirez will get another chance to shine on Saturday, Feb. 2, as the USMNT take on Costa Rica in San Jose, California.

Tyler Miller Returns to LAFC

Walker Zimmerman, Christian Ramirez, and Tyler Miller recently completed three weeks of USMNT camp in Chula Vista, California. Unfortunately, the team would leave behind four players, including Miller, before departing to Arizona.

The 25-year-old goalkeeper immediately returned to training with LAFC and played a vital role in Sunday’s contest.

LAFC’s friendly against Vissel Kobe

With the re-signing of Walker Zimmerman and the subsequent return of defenders Danilo Silva and Dejan Jakovic a day later, LAFC is bringing back 18 members of its inaugural squad. And in returning that core, a season after setting the standard for first-year teams in MLS, the club and its fans are asking: What can this group of players achieve with a full season under their belts?

The Black and Gold will have a chance to answer that question as they host Vissel Kobe for a preseason friendly this Thursday.

Vassell, Perez, and Mendoza are Black and Gold

LAFC surprised fans when they traded their first-round pick to FC Cincinnati during the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago.

But head coach Bob Bradley isn’t to be underestimated and the club didn’t leave empty handed as LAFC selected Peter-Lee Vassell, Javi Perez, and Kevin Mendoza.

Here’s what we know about these three draftees:

  • Peter-Lee Vassell – 40th overall pick

Before hitting the pitch, Vassell is already an interesting case.

The 19-year-old is one the few players who did not get selected out of college. Instead, the midfielder found his route to the SuperDraft via the 2018 Caribbean Combine, being selected MVP and earning an invite to the main MLS Combine. Additionally, he is on the senior international with Jamaica – having recorded eight caps and five goals, thus far.

  • Javi Perez – 64th overall pick

At just 20-years-old, the Spanish midfielder wanted a change of scenery after playing for Spain’s La Liga club Valencia CF – serving as the team’s captain for twelve years.

Perez spent the last two years at the University of Pittsburgh, having started in all 35 games he played. As a senior in 2018, he ranked second on the team with eleven points, four goals, and three assists.

A junior transfer from Spain, Perez was a two-time captain for the Panthers, earning USC All-South Region Third Team honors in 2018 and Second Team All-ACC in 2017-18.

  • Kevin Mendoza – 73rd overall pick

Mendoza spent the past four years at Liberty University, earning all-conference honors all four seasons, including first team accolades from 2016-18. A two-year captain for the Flames, Mendoza finished his collegiate career with 32 goals and 15 assists.

The 25-year-old midfielder graduated from Colegio de Bachilleres in his hometown of Mexico City, while also playing for Cruz Azul’s U-17 and U-20 squads.

Gold Links

Featured image: @LAFC

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USWNT Recap – 2 games vs Chile and Press 100

Abigail Gerken - USWNT/mlsfemale
Official USWNT Reporter

By Abigail Gerken @abigailgerken22

On August 31st the US Women’s National Team defeated Chile 3-0 at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles, California. The highlight of the night was the celebration for Christen Press reaching 100 caps for the national team. Over her 6-year international career, Press has scored 45 goals in 104 caps, including a goal to seal the 3-0 lead on her celebratory night. She also has won an Olympic Gold Medal and a World Cup Championship.

In this first game against Chile on the March to World Cup Qualifying, the USWNT cruised past Chile 3-0. In addition to an own goal (off a Julie Ertz header) and Christen Press’s tap-in at the far post,  19-year-old Tierna Davidson scored her first USWNT goal from a header off of a goal kick.

There was controversy surrounding a PK that Christen Press took and scored- as it was disallowed because a Chile player and Crystal Dunn both encroached on the penalty kick – since both of them encroached fans and players argued that it should have been retaken.

On September 4th the USWNT played Chile again in San Jose, California for their final game before World Cup Qualifying begins.

Earlier in the day, the WCQ groups for CONCACAF were decided. The USWNT will play Mexico on October 4th, Panama on October 7th, and Trinidad and Tobago on October 10th all in Cary, North Carolina.

Alex Morgan captained the game, earlier it was reported that Carli Lloyd will retire following the 2019 WWC in France next summer, many supporters anticipate that Alex Morgan will be passed the torch. When Carli Lloyd came into the game, she was given the captain’s armband.

An early injury for McCall Zebroni after an unfortunate landing led to a 5th-minute sub, Morgan Brian subbed in for McCall Zebroni. Later it was reported that she has a fractured elbow. North Carolina Courage may lose their strong No. 6 for the 2018 NWSL playoffs starting in the coming weeks.

In the 33rd minute Mallory Pugh went down in the box, Alex Morgan stepped up and after missing the left-footed attempt, Tobin Heath rebounded and dished in a cross and Mallory Pugh scored her 12th international goal.

It didn’t take long for the USA to double their lead. In the 38th minute the USWNT earned a free kick in a dangerous position, Tierna Davidson gets the flick on header and Tobin Heath slots it away.

Just after halftime, in the 47th minute, Carli Lloyd scores a header off of a Tobin Heath free kick in her first touch of the game.

Shortly after, Alex Morgan would get her goal off of a Tobin Heath cross, however, it was ruled offside.

In the 90+3rd minute, Carli Lloyd sprinted up the wing, dribbled around Chilean defenders and slotted it away.

This 4-0 victory expanded the USWNT’s unbeaten streak to 21 games (18-0-3), they’re in good form heading into World Cup Qualifying.

The next US Soccer game is tomorrow. The USMNT take on Brazil with a young squad looking to secure their places within the depth chart.

Featured image: Sports Illustrated

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USA vs Paraguay

Abigail Gerken - USWNT/mlsfemale
Official USMNT Reporter

By Abigail Gerken // @abigailgerken22

Tuesday, March 27: 1-0 Win

Cary, NC

12-Zack Steffen; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Matt Miazga, 5-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 19-Jorge Villafaña; 20-Wil Trapp (capt.); 6-Darlington Nagbe, 8-Marky Delgado, 4-Tyler Adams, 10-Kenny Saief; 7-Bobby Wood

You know you have a young team when your most senior player in the starting 11 is 24 years old (DeAndre Yedlin, 50 caps). On the roster leading into the game that interim head coach Dave Sarachan put together, there are 17 players under the age of 24. These young players are facing off against Paraguay who has a mix of experience and hopeful youth, including Atlanta United powerhouse Miguel Almiron.

Some players to make note of are Marky Delgado, the 22-year-old just won the treble with his club team Toronto FC, he will be making his first cap tonight. Besides this being Wil Trapps 4th cap, this will be his second consecutive time captaining the USMNT. Finally, Tyler Adams. The 19-year-old is the youngest player in this lineup. After having a very experienced youth career it will be exciting to see what Adams can do on the senior team.

In the 44th minute, Marky Delgado sent a gorgeous ball into Tyler Adams’ run. Tyler took a couple of touches to close down his space going 1v1 with the Paraguayan keeper. As he took a touch to his left to try and beat the keeper, keeper took him out without an attempt at getting the ball. This resulted in a PK and a yellow card. Bobby Wood stepped up to take it and slotted home his 11th career international goal.

That was the only goal of the game as the young ones take the 1-0 win over Paraguay

Also, a side note, did we see those jerseys! I am absolutely loving the new kits that Nike put out for 2018.

The next USMNT game is on May 28th against Bolivia. The USWNT take on their heated rivals Mexico on April 5th at 7:00 pm EST, you can watch it on FS1.

Featured image courtesy: CBSsports.com

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The first steps of the USMNT in 2018

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
USMNT Key Contributor

By Michelle Huitink // @AdorableEars

International Friendly: 0-0 Draw

I was there at StubHub Center Sunday evening, January 28, 2018. I say this proudly. I paid extra to be on the sidelines during warm-ups. I watched this game live from what turned out to be a Bosnia and Herzegovina fan section and it was frustrating. I ended up moving to another section at the half.  Stay with me.

Having been there, it felt almost pointless to rewatch and analyze from my DVR at home, to critique a set of players that we may not see play together again. But, as a USMNT fan, I feel I owe it to my team (because I love and believe in them and want to see them qualify for the 2022 World Cup) to do them justice and properly share my perspective.

I’ll share my findings now. There are plenty of critics and blind followers out there, I am not one of them. You with me? Here we go.

For starters, I must say, I think it’s important this game ended in a draw. If we would have won, I think we would be too comfortable.  This is still a reflection of the upset of our not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup; we have a lot to work on still and we have the time to do it now. In addition, we have an interim coach (Sarachan), meaning we don’t have a set coach, so the problems we are seeing are because we don’t have a system.

Michelle Huitink - USMNT/mlsfemale

As to be expected in a first game of the year and the first game out of January camp, there were a lot of changes. We played differently in each half due to adjustments that had to be made with the changes. This was a first time team, too, for the most part.

I’ll admit, it was sloppy at times. But, this is what change and growth look like. These factors are not excuses, but they are reasons for why we need to keep a level head and keep realistic expectations for the future of USMNT soccer.  Let’s keep moving forward as we take a look back at this game.

Here’s a recap of the Starting XI in the 4-1-4-1 formation:

1-GK Bill Hamid

2-D Justin Morrow

3-D Ike Opara

21-D Walker Zimmerman

15-D Matt Polster

6-M Wil Trapp (Captain)

9- M Gyasi Zardes

4- M Tyler Adams

8- M Cristian Roldan

13-M Jordan Morris

17- F CJ Sapong

The defense was good in the first half, but the team did not seem connected at times. The exception to this was Roldan and Morris in certain moments where they found clear opportunities and took chances to score. Perhaps this is because they’re best friends, but they’ve definitely been playing together on the Seattle Sounders for two seasons, and I think their chemistry–the fact they know how the other plays– is key to how the USMNT as a whole can sync up.

In the first half, we were attacking more, both teams were equal in fouls, but we didn’t make good decisions in the end.

Overall, we played passively.  When we had the ball, we tried to put some pressure, but our strategy was not developed or fast enough. We couldn’t build a rhythm or momentum. Sometimes, the USMNT seemed unsure of what to do once they had the ball whether due to inexperience on the part of the young players or the players didn’t know each other well enough, which is normal considering they only played together for three weeks.  As a result, the game was slow. Sometimes it would be fifteen minutes before another chance to score showed itself.

One of the few highlights of the evening involved Jordan Morris.  In the 22nd minute, Morris took on a BIH defender, that was the kind of tactic we needed from other players. Morris faced players head on, which is what other players except Roldan and Trapp were missing.

He was a mid, a winger and a striker at times.  It should also be noted, this was the first full 90 minutes he’d played since his hamstring injury back on September 10, 2017 (I was at that game too).

The first three changes in players at the half were good: Zack Steffen replaced Bill Hamid, Kelyn Rowe took Sapong’s place and Gyasi Zardes was not as effective this time, so it was better they put in Paul Arriola.

At the second half, the formation was changed to the common 4-4-2.  Morris and Roldan were the forwards.  Trapp made a good pass, creating a chance for Morris in the 50th minute. Morris had good control of the ball, reflected his experience, but he just couldn’t make it in the net. This opportunity coupled with Trapp’s good communication to try to bring the team together on the pitch, made him an excellent choice for captain.

The other highlight of the evening was Cristian Roldan.  He made so much effort to try to make goals happen.  He was an 8, but he played as a 9 and in the 22nd minute when Morris faced a BIH defender, he jumped in and tried to score, playing like a 10 when Sapong didn’t make the move. Roldan was not afraid to take risks and get in as needed to make plays happen. He took more responsibility as a mid forward.

After Roldan and Trapp were subbed (68th and 83rd minute respectively), the pressure had deflated.  BIH started to have the ball and had more chances.  We needed more control of the ball. There was too much of a gap between Morris and the midfield and he looked like a 9 position in the last minutes after Roldan left. The team started to disconnect with the changes.

Final takeaways:

We had seven corners throughout the game and didn’t take advantage of them.

We are still looking for a keeper. While Hamid was able to make a save in the 42nd minute after his bad pass to redeem himself, Steffan did his job, but that’s all.

In Opara, I feel we gained a defense, which is where we build from.

In the end, we earned the criticism we’ll continue to get.  But, there’s still that pride and enthusiasm to represent our country.  Now, we’ll have to see who will be part of the group moving forward.

Image courtesy: Michelle Huitink

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