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Altidore Double Highlights MNT Contributions to Club Success

Now just over two months out, the U.S. MNT players have their eyes set on making an impact for the USA in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. For now, their work is with their club teams, where last weekend a number of U.S. players made a difference.

Jozy Altidore, F, Toronto FC

Altidore collected his third and fourth goals of the season after notching a double in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win over Orlando City SC. In the 50th minute, Altidore quickly played a free kick from inside of the center circle to teammate Sebastain Giovinco, who in-turn touched it right back to Altidore. From there Altidore did the rest, zipping past the defense and ripping a shot that just tipped off Orlando City GK Donovan Ricketts’ hands and bounced in off the far post. In the 83rd minute, he got around the defense again. His second score came when he took down a long pass and fooled both a defender and the goalkeeper with a cut in the box that he followed with a left-footed finish.

Watch: Altidore goals

Fabian Johnson, D, Borussia Mönchengladbach

Fabian Johnson played a key part in Borussia Mönchengladbach’s 1-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg. Johnson completed 29 of 34 passes one of which set up the game-winning goal. The win was huge for ‘Gladbach as it clinched at least a qualifying spot in the next edition of the UEFA Champions League.

Watch: Match Highlights

Clint Dempsey, F, Seattle Sounders FC

Clint Dempsey led the Seattle Sounders to a victory over rival Portland Timbers by scoring the game-winning goal in the 77th minute of the match. In front of a crowd of 41,541 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Dempsey tapped in a rebound from close range after Andy Rose’s initial shot was saved by the Portland GK Adam Kwarasey. The goal was Dempsey’s second through Kwarasey in the last year. He put one past him in just 30 seconds into the USA’s 2014 FIFA World Cup opener against Ghana last June.

Watch: Dempsey Goal

Alejandro Bedoya, M, Nantes

Alejandro Bedoya headed home the game-tying goal for Nantes in its Ligue 1 road match versus Toulouse. With two minutes left in regulation, Nantes trailed by a goal and was given a corner kick. Bedoya made his move to the back post and buried a header to save a point for Nantes.

Watch: Bedoya goal

Aron Johannsson, F, AZ Alkmaar

Aron Johannsson tallied his sixth goal of the season for AZ, flicking in a cross with the outside of his left foot for a goal in the game’s 35th minute. AZ would go on to win 2-0 over FC Twente. The win was important for AZ as the team continues to work for a Europa League spot. Johannsson’s team now trails the third-place position by three points with two more matches to play this season.

Watch: Johannsson goal

COPA

Familiar and Fresh Faces Gather in Bosnia for U-18 MNT Camp

The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team is currently in Bosnia for its first training camp of 2015. Head coach Javier Perez and his 20-player roster already squared off with Bosnian premier league club Siroki Brijeg in a scrimmage on April 25, where they won with a convincing 6-0 final score line. Next, the team is poised for a pair of friendly matches with Bosnia’s U-19 National Team on April 28, followed by a second on April 30.

“This is a really important trip for us because it’s the before-last camp and we are doing it in a foreign camp,” Perez said. “We are going to play against Bosnia’s U-19 team which is one year older than us and for them, it’s a really important moment because they are close to the UEFA European U-19 Championship, so we expect very tough competition.”

Earlier this year, the U-18’s competed in the 2015 Copa Chivas Tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, where they played against Monarcas Morelia, Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, Club Tijuana and Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica. Ten players who competed at Copa Chivas are back for this camp in Bosnia, with a few fresh faces joining them this time around.

“We have a good combination of players with a lot of experience with the National Team and we have some new players doing very well with club teams like with the case of Marcello Borges with New York Red Bulls. It’s his first time with any National Team. Mason Stajduhar, he’s with Orlando City SC - it’s his first international trip with us. Also, Jeremiah Gutjahr (Indiana Fire) is in his first cycle with the international team.

“Then on the other side we have players like Mukwelle Akale (Villarreal CF) or Ben Swanson (Columbus Crew SC) or Cameron Lindley (Chicago Fire) or Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC) who have been around the team for a long time and they are core-group players.”

For Marcello Borges this call to camp has been nearly 18 years in the making. He said that now that he is here he is going to give it everything he has.

“I’ve been wanting to get a call since I was a young boy so getting a call for the first time, I was very excited to prove what I had and to show that I deserve to be here,” Borges said. “It’s going well. The players here are all top quality too. It moves quicker than back at home, but I’ll adjust to it and I’ll play well. You always have to play to their level and try to improve. Every day playing against the best players, you improve yourself, so I’m just trying to do my best.”

Borges said that he hopes to learn as much as he can at this camp both on and off the field, taking advice from guys that have been around the system for a while and hoping to use what he learns when he’s back home. Players like Akale are helping lead the way for newer players like Borges.

“I think in Villareal we’re always going 100 percent all the time and that’s the goal for us here. If we bring that here we’ll be a lot better,” Akale said. “I hope to show that here and be a leader.”

As the team continues to progress, it will also be put to the test when it takes on a Bosnian team that Perez expects to be very physical. Nonetheless, it is a challenge that the team is eager to take on.

“I’m looking forward to playing a physical side,” Akale said. “[It will be] a physical and tough match and set pieces are going to be important for us.”

Perez says the match will be a good opportunity for the players to work on their feet and to operate technically to move the ball around quickly, thus creating another occasion and possible moment of experience for the young team that is always looking to improve.

U.S. Women's National Team Unveils New 2015 Nike Home Kit

CHICAGO (April 22, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s National Team has unveiled a new Nike home kit the team will wear throughout the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The USA kits are available in women’s, men’s, and youth sizes and will be available for sale on ussoccerstore.com starting today at 8 p.m. ET. Fans can also purchase the jerseys starting today through the Nike Soccer App (gonike.me/SoccerApp), Nike stores and Nike.com. 

Play-In Round Winners Advance to U.S. Open Cup First Round

Cal FC Defeats San Francisco City FC 2-1 
Cal FC took its first step in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, using two second half penalty kicks from Chris Cummings and Jonathan Bravo to down San Francisco City FC Saturday afternoon at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, California.

Playing in front of a “Play-In” Round record-crowd of 1,519 at Kezar Stadium, the visitors - famous for their 2012 U.S. Open Cup run where they upset Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers - dominated most of the possession in the first half, but saw the home side with the better of the early chances.

Taking the ball in stride in the 12th minute, forward Reed Williams spun past Cal FC left back Edgar Espinoza, before slotting the ball for Chris Cummings whose low cross was well cut out by Cal FC goalkeeper Brian Hill.

Eleven minutes later, Williams got by Espinoza again, and squared his pass at the top of the area for Austin Diaz De Leon, but the former University of San Francisco midfielder saw his first-time effort go wide of goal.

Cal FC would find its first dangerous opportunity in the 30th minute when Jose Altamirano strolled up the right before cutting a pass back for Johnny Bravo, but the former LA Galaxy reservist fired his first-time shot well over goal.

The final chance of the half would be the best one as Cal FC’s Alberto Anguiano lobbed a ball for Cummings into the left corner. Cummings took his space and whipped a driven cross back to the near post where Anguiano’s header was saved with a diving effort from City FC goalkeeper Austin Harms.

The first goal of the match would come just after the break when Anguiano was played through alone on goal. The Cal FC forward jumped to push the ball past the goalkeeper and Harms took him down inside the area forcing the referee to point to the penalty spot. On the ensuing kick, Cummings stepped up and calmly slotted the ball past Harms to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.

“That threw the whole game into a whole other speed,” said Cal FC head coach Ross Greaney. “They began attacking with a lot of numbers. That sent a wave of energy into San Francisco and they came at us.”

City FC began to take back possession and came close to the equalizer in the 70th minute when left winger George Plakorus’s cross in from the left picked out Eric Anderson whose diving header was saved by Hill.

In the 75th minute, City FC’s Jack Momeyer played a quick one-two combo with Diaz De Leon, getting into the box and firing his effort off the top of the cross bar.

The hosts would finally equalize a minute later when Plakorus put in another low, whipping cross that saw Cal FC defender Randy Mendoza misdirect his clearance into the net.

San Francisco nearly found the go-ahead goal in the 86th minute when a cross from left back Gabriel Padilla saw Hill misplay the ball, before popping for Anderson. The City FC midfielder took an ambitious bicycle kick which Hill recovered to collect.

A bit against the run of play, Cal FC would find the eventual game-winner from the penalty spot the 87th minute as Anguiano sent a cross-in that was judged to have been handled by a City FC defender. This time, Cal FC midfielder Jonathan Bravo stepped up and squeezed his penalty low, inside the right post to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.

Late pressure from San Francisco City FC was well sustained by Cal FC, and the referee blew the full-time whistle, sending the 2012 giant killers back into the 2015 tournament proper.

“I’m glad I have a roster full of guys with such character,” said Greaney. “We’re not the fittest, we’re not training every day – there’s a lot of obstacles to performing your best. Even in the second half when we started to wither, we pulled through. Hopefully our character will continue to help us through this tournament.”

Cal FC advances to face USL Premier Development League side Ventura County Fusion on May 13 at Ventura College Sportsplex in Ventura, California The match will hold special significance for Greaney, who served as a long-time assistant coach for the club, as well as former player Danny Barrera.

“There’s going to be a lot of familiarity – we know them a little bit and they know us a bit,” said Greaney. “It’s pretty exciting to go up against a team that you have some ties to and I think both sides are looking forward to it.”

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup “Play-In” Match Report #1

Match: Cal FC 2, San Francisco City FC 1
Date: Saturday, April 25, 2015
Venue: Kezar Stadium; San Francisco, CA

Scoring Summary:
CAL – Chris Cummings (penalty kick)             47 minute
SFC – own goal (Randy Mendoza)     76
CAL – Johnny Bravo (penalty kick)    87

Disciplinary Summary:
SFC – Austin Harms (caution)                        46 minute
SFC – Reed Williams (caution)                        58
CAL – Danny Barrera (caution)                      88
SFC – Gabriel Padilla (caution)                        89

Cal FC: Bryan Hill; Conor Hearn, Jason Gallardo, Randy Mendoza, Edgar Espinoza;  Jonathan Bravo, Osiris Saligan, Chris Cummings (John Lopez 74’), Danny Barrera; Alberto Anguiano, Jose Altamirano

San Francisco City FC:  Austin Harms; Gabriel Padilla, Adam Ringler, Tom Montgomery, Marc Tonkel; Jack Momeyer (Tyson Crim 74), Johannes DeMarzi, Mauricio Diaz De Leon, Eric Anderson, George Plakorus; Reed Williams (Taylor Amman 77’)

*** 

Harpo’s FC Slides Past KC Athletics 2-0
In Play-In Match No. 2, Boulder, Colorado-based Harpo’s FC used second half goals from captain Dan Campbell and forward Shane Wheeler to take down the visiting KC Athletics at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Field #20 in Commerce City, Colorado.

After a spirited first half where Harpo’s controlled most of the way, Campbell put the home side ahead on the hour mark, finishing off a feed from Kyle Leutkehans.

Luetkehans would set up the second goal 10 minutes later as he played Wheeler through the KC backline before the powerful forward rounded the goalkeeper and finished into an empty net to push Harpo’s into a First Round date with Brigham Young University on May 13 in Provo, Utah.

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup “Play-In” Match Report #2

Match: KC Athletics 0, Harpo’s FC 2
Date: Saturday, April 25, 2015
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods  Park Field 20; Commerce City, CO

Scoring Summary:
HAR – Daniel Campbell (Kyle Leutkehans)     60 minute
HAR – Shane Wheeler (Kyle Leutkehans)      70 minute

Disciplinary Summary:
KC – Bobby Reiss (caution)                            63 minute

KC Athletics: Steven Grow, Oran Andrews, Steven Emory, Ryan Kawoluk, Bobby Reiss, Martin Johnson (Samuel Braverman 70’), Peter Kariotis (Josh Westberg 53’), Skelly Kellar, Matt Kuhn, Josh White, Bryan Williams (Kyle Perkins 56’)

Harpo’s FC:  Zac Gibbens, Frank Sawyer, Daniel Campbell (Daniel Schewe 73’), Justin Geibel, Kevin Haber, Benjamin Liames, Kyle Luetkehans, Ian Marchesci (Daniel Whittle 82’), Jose Matibag, Edgar Olivas (Corey Cullen 75’), Shane Wheeler

U-20 MNT Closes Out Camp with 1-0 Win over Croatia

SALZBURG, Austria (April 25, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team defeated Croatia’s Under-20’s 1-0 on Saturday behind a Romain Gall second-half goal at the Red Bull Salzburg Academy, in Salzburg, Austria. The matched capped off a weeklong camp as the U-20 MNT continues preparation for this summer’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.    

The game was physical from the start, with three cautions being issued in the first 20 minutes. When the whistle blew at halftime the score was even at 0-0.

In the second half things started to shift and the U.S. came out with intensity, pushing the ball forward. In the 64th minute U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos brought on a trio of subs and within two minutes, one of the subs, Gall, came through with a goal. Zach Pfeffer, who had brought the ball down the left side and played it in to Gall, was awarded the assist. Gall brought it in at the top of the box, took a turn and sidestepped a defender before sending home what proved to be the game-winning score.

The 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup will take place in New Zealand from May 30-June 20.

-U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-

 

Match: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Croatia U-20 MNT
Date: April 25, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Red Bull Salzburg Academy; Salzburg, Austria
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET
Attendance: Closed door
Weather: Cloudy, 64 degrees

Scoring Summary:             1      2      F

USA                                             0      1      1
CRO                                             0      0      0

USA – Romain Gall (Zach Pfeffer)                                   66 minute           

Lineups:

USA: Zack Steffen; Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown, Cameron Carter-Vickers, John Requejo; Cristian Roldan (Joel Sonora, 64), Marco Delgado, Tommy Thompson (Junior Flores, 64); Zach Pfeffer (Conor Donovan, 87), Jordan Allen (Amando Moreno, 81), Maki Tall (Romain Gall, 64).
Subs Not Used: Ethan Sonis, Jeff Caldwell

Head Coach: Tab Ramos 

CRO:  Ivusic Ivica (Miskic Dario, 85); Stolnik Marko (Grabovac Ivan, 77), Ikic Frane (Lovric Dragan, 85), Bagadur Ricardo, Muzek Matej; Faletar Filip (Mance Antonio, 85), Cvek Lovro (Slunjski Maks, 77), Klapan Jeronim (Ceraj Denis, 46); Dangubic Filip (Algahoul Muhamed, 42), Dzoni Jakov, Rebrenik Michael.
Subs Not Used: Rebrenik Michael

Head Coach: Danijel Saric

Stats Summary: USA / CRO
Shots: 19 / 6
Shots on Goal: 6 / 0
Corner Kicks: 5 / 3
Fouls: 16 / 24
Offside: 3 / 1

Misconduct Summary:

USA - Cameron Carter-Vickers (Caution) 15 minute
USA - Erik Palmer-Brown (Caution) 17
CRO - Cvek Lovro (Caution) 22
CRO - Klapan Jeronim (Caution) 74
USA - John Requejo (Caution) 90

                 

 

KC Athletics Looks to Leave Controversy Behind, Earn its Third Open Cup Berth

When asked what sets his club apart from others in the United States, Kyle Perkins, the manager of Saturday’s U.S. Open Cup “Play-In” participants KC Athletics can’t help but chuckle.

“We’re really not a club, necessarily,” he says. “We’re just one team that’s done alright for ourselves over the years.”

Before describing his side as “the most amateur team in the tournament”, Perkins explains that the team came into existence back in 2001 through a merger between the Kansas City Football Club and Kansas Legends Soccer Club.

“It was a mix of guys that were decent, some of who went to college and played and others that didn’t,” he said. “After school, guys came back and still had some desire to keep playing competitively – it’s sort of grown from there.”

On Saturday, KC Athletics will visit Harpo’s FC in Commerce City, Colorado, kicking off its third U.S. Open Cup tournament appearance since first qualifying in 2010. As they do, they’ll hope to put to bed the controversy that saw them miss out on the 2013 edition.

The side appeared to have earned its third Open Cup berth that year after downing Michigan-based Dearborn Stars 1-0 in a USASA Region II qualifying match, but the visitors from metro-Detroit protested the match, citing the size of the field KC arranged for the teams to play on. Indeed, the width was three yards short of the minimum required 65 yards and a replay was ordered shortly after to be played at a neutral site in Chicago.

With only a few days to coordinate travel for his players to go 500 miles to Chicago, KC instead withdrew from the replay and missed out on the tournament.

“Our team is all nine-to-five types with kids and families,” said Perkins. “Getting away isn’t easy for us in general, getting away weekend after weekend right after we’d already played it wasn’t something we could pull together. It was disappointing, but I think we knew we’d be back here and we’ve put it behind us.”

As they go up against Harpo’s on Saturday, they’ll do it with the experience of former Colorado Rapids midfielder Steven Emory, former Portland Timbers defender Ryan Kowaluk, ex-Atlanta Silverbacks defender Bobby Reese and the return of Peter Kariotis, who played professionally in Greece with Niki Voulo FC and Aetos Skydra.

They’ll also have a familiarity with their hosts. With KC already earning one of USASA’s Region II’s qualifying berths, the side also entered in the USSSA qualifying tournament, held in nearby Overland Park, Kansas last month.

The two teams met twice in the tournament. Harpo’s won the group stage match 4-1, went on to the tournament final and since KC was the other finalist and had already qualified, Harpo’s earned their berth without having to play the USSSA championship match. The Colorado-based side took that match lightly and fell 3-1 as KC Athletics ended up USSSA champs, even though it’s not how they qualified for the Open Cup.

“It’s sort of weird playing the same team three times so close together,” Perkins said. “We know a little bit about them. We know they have a huge roster to choose from, they might have a few guys we don’t know about, but we go there now with some experience in this tournament and ultimately knowing what’s on the line.”

New Players, Same Goal for Cal FC in 2015 Open Cup Return

As Cal FC returns to U.S. Open Cup play on Saturday at San Francisco City FC, they do so with a bigger target on their backs than any of the other 43 amateur sides entering this year’s tournament.

Such is the burden for a team that wrote one of the competition’s best Cinderella stories in 2012 as they downed two professional sides, including a 1-0 victory over Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers to advance to the tournament’s fourth round.

Gallery: WNT Reps its New Nike Home Kit

Photos from the U.S. Women's National Team photo shoot in its new Nike designed home kit the players will wear at this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. 

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