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Former World Cup Champion Berti Vogts Appointed U.S. MNT Technical Advisor

CHICAGO (March 26, 2014) – U.S. Soccer has appointed former World Cup winner Berti Vogts to be a Technical Advisor to the U.S. Men’s National Team.

A member of the German team that won the 1974 FIFA World Cup, Vogts brings a tremendous track record of success to the Men’s National Team. Additionally, he coached the German squad to the 1996 European Championship – on which U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was team captain – and is one of only three coaches to lead Germany to a trophy in the last 25 years.

“We had a fantastic experience with Berti during the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” said Klinsmann. “His knowledge and experience is a tremendous asset for us. With Andi Herzog having a big focus on qualifying the U-23 team for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Berti will make an even more important contribution.”

In his role as Technical Advisor, Vogts will oversee the development of players in Europe, working with Herzog and Matthias Hamann on scouting, building and improving club relationships and identifying talent. Vogts will serve as a resource for technical development initiatives and coaching education. 

Vogts earned 96 caps for Germany, playing a total of 19 matches in three World Cups. Nicknamed “Der Terrier,” he famously marked Dutch legend Johan Cruyff in the 1974 World Cup final that Germany won 2-1 in Munich. He served as team captain from 1977-79, taking over for Franz Beckenbauer.

During a 14-year professional career in which he was twice named Germany Footballer of the Year, Vogts was an integral part of the Borussia Moenchengladbach squad that won five Bundesliga titles (1969–70, 1970–71, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77) and two UEFA Cups (1974–75, 1978–79).

Vogts coached Germany from 1990-98, compiling a record of 66-12-24. In addition to the title in 1996, he had a second-place finish in the 1992 European Championship and led the Germans to the quarterfinals in consecutive World Cups in 1994 and 1998.

Having coached the national teams of Scotland (2002-04) and Nigeria (2007-08), he served as the manager for Azerbaijan from April of 2008 to the end of 2014.

Quote Sheet: Klinsmann, Johannsson, Altidore, Bradley and Alvarado on Denmark

MNT head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN:

On tonight’s game:
“I think overall this was a very even and entertaining game. I think we gave them an eye-to-eye game and we could have won it, but we didn’t. We saw a lot of good things that we wanted to see on our end. Obviously, we’ve got to correct a couple things because we conceded three goals, and overall it’s just a little bit frustrating when you lose in the last minute.”

On what he liked and disliked from tonight’s game:
“Obviously, what you don’t like is late goals. Maybe it’s just losing focus for a second, losing your mark or because of heavy legs getting tired a little bit. You never want to give a game away that you’re up 2-1. I think a tie probably would have been a fair result, but as I said a lot of positives. I think the backline overall did a very good job. From the left to the right, they were all on top of things as much as they could be. I think Michael Bradley was present in the midfield trying to organize a lot. You’re always happy for your strikers when they score. You hope then for a third one if there’s an opportunity and we had it with John Brooks’ header in the last second. There’s a lot of good stuff taken away from this game, definitely. We have to step it up in terms of managing the game all 90 minutes. You lead in Denmark 2-1? Get the job done and go home with three points. At least tie it. That’s all the stuff to improve, but overall we did a lot of good stuff.”

On the struggle to maintain possession in the first half and how they planned to fix it at half:
“We knew that Denmark is a very good possession-oriented team. That’s part of their style that Morten Olsen developed over many, many years here, and they do it really well with their technical capabilities. They move off of the ball really well. So what we had problems with the first half was to get pressure on the ball, to get closer to them in midfield and shut them down in terms of their passing lanes and the space that they find. I think it was a little bit better in the second half. We got closer to them. We denied them those little passes between the lines and that’s stuff we’re going to have to deal with and do better.”

On bringing in Ventura Alvarado for his first cap in place of Michael Orozco:
Michael Orozco was giving us a signal that he was just simply exhausted and that led to Ventura’s first cap, which was something special for him.”

On Denmark’s captain and playmaker Christian Eriksen:
“I said yesterday to the media here that he obviously is a huge talent. He’s fun to watch and at a young age already taking over so much responsibility on the field, leading his team and keeping the rhythm going. It’s really fun to watch him, so it will be interesting to see how he continues his career.”

On Nicklas Bendtner’s performance:
If you make three goals then you get all the compliments in the world, and he deserves them for that performance absolutely.”

MNT forward ARON JOHANNSSON

On his goal:
“Michael Bradley played Jozy [Altidore] a fantastic ball in the box, and Jozy showed he’s a very good team player; he played it to me, and I was the one against an open goal.”

On his return to Aarhus, where he played professionally for AGF Aarhus:
“It was amazing. It was a great experience to come back to the stadium where my career kicked off. It was good to be back, but on the other hand we lost the game, so I’m pretty disappointed right now. I felt like we could’ve gotten something from the game so this is pretty disappointing.”

On what to take moving forward to the Switzerland game next Tuesday:
“Obviously today we had a lot of positives, and now we have to look at those positives and learn from them and make sure that we’re winning games in the final period of the game and make sure that we don’t lose games in the last couple of minutes.”

On the warm reception he received from the Denmark crowd:
“Obviously it’s great for me that they still know my name back here and they still cheer for me. It’s a great city and I’m very happy to be back, but on the other hand, the result kind of killed it.”

MNT forward JOZY ALTIDORE

On scoring his goal:
“It was a great ball from Timmy [Chandler]. It looked like the defenders were confused a little bit, and I just tried to kind of stay with the play. Then, I tried to hit it first time and get it on target and it went in.”

On losing a game where the team twice had the lead:
“Yeah it’s annoying because it seems to be a trend over the last five or six games and it’s just not good enough at this level. Too many lapses at critical points in the game, and maybe it’s a little bit of lack of experience as well, but it’s something we’ll have to cut out getting closer now to a competition in the Gold Cup. We need to get better.”

On the cold, damp playing conditions:
“Yeah it was weird, it was a cold one. It was a typical spring day; it was cold and wet. But look, everybody at this level has experienced extreme temperature, so it’s no excuse.”

On preparing for Switzerland:
“Switzerland’s another tough game.  It’s another good opponent. It’s another opportunity for us to work on things, but we have to take these chances seriously now, because there’s not many left until we start a competition and that’s where it counts.”

MNT midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY

On playing his first game as captain:
“It was a tremendous honor. Obviously Clint’s [Dempsey] the captain and he’s done an incredible job, but for me to have the opportunity to be captain on the night that he’s not here was very special and not something that I’ll soon forget. Growing up you dream for these kind of nights, so it was very special.”

On the frustration of losing another game late:
“It’s very frustrating. We knew it was going to be a difficult night with the conditions; the field’s not great, it’s wet, windy, and we knew it was going to be a game where more balls were going to get played forward and  it was going to be about moving our lines and getting to second balls. I thought we handled things for the most part pretty well, but if you don’t see the game out, if you don’t take care of things in the last few minutes then you’re not going to ever get what you deserve. I think the frustrating thing is that it’s not the first time that that’s happened to us, where we’ve not been able to see a game out and we’ve got to start to learn our lesson.”

On preparing for Switzerland:
“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ll get back to Zurich tomorrow and physically start to recover and get ourselves mentally right. Obviously it’s another big chance to step on the field against a good team.”

MNT defender VENTURA ALVARADO

On earning his first cap:
“I’m real happy and proud to be here and motivated to keep working and getting more minutes. I’m going to remember this, and it’s going to be a good memory. We lost, but it’s alright, we just need to keep working.”

Highlights: 91st-Minute Strike Beats MNT in Denmark

The U.S. Men's National Team fell 3-2 to Denmark in Aarhus, Denmark.

MNT Upended by Nicklas Bendtner Hat Trick in 3-2 Loss to Denmark

AARHUS, Denmark (March 25, 2015) – Jozy Altidore tallied his 27th goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team and added an assist on Aron Johannsson’s third career tally, but it was not enough to offset Nicklas Bendtner’s hat trick in a 3-2 loss to Denmark on Wednesday at NRGi Park.

The USA now returns to Zurich, where it will continue training camp ahead of next week’s match against Switzerland. The U.S. MNT will play its second consecutive road match in Europe on March 31 at 12 p.m. ET live on Fox Sports 1, UniMás and UDN.

The USA twice took the lead in each half first through Altidore and then Johannsson. Denmark responded on each occasion through Bendtner, who eventually scored the game winner in the 91st minute.

The USA had a chance to equalize in the game’s final moments when midfielder Michael Bradley whipped a beautiful cross into the box, but John Brooks guided his header just wide in the last action of the match.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Jozy Altidore (Timmy Chandler), 19th minute:
Timmy Chandler played a one-two passing combination with Altidore, launching the ball to the far post from the right side. Altidore outmuscled his defender and blasted in a half-volley at the near post with his left foot. It was Chandler’s first assist for the USA. USA 1, DEN 0 (SEE GOAL)

DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Lasse Vibe), 33rd minute: After a long build up, the ball ended up with Denmark’s Daniel Wass. He flashed a cross toward Rimando, where it was backheeled by Lass Vibe into the path of Bendtner, who easily tapped it home from close range. USA 1, DEN 1 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Aron Johannsson (Jozy Altidore), 66th minute: Michael Bradley dropped an exquisite long ball into the Denmark box to a streaking Altidore. The U.S. striker took a beautiful first touch to cushion the pass and draw the attention of Denmark goalkeeper Stephan Andersen before, poking the ball to Johannsson, who tapped home into the vacated goal well with smart first touch and a defender on his back. USA 2, DEN 1 (SEE GOAL)

DEN – Nicklas Bendtner, 83rd minute: A chip from Martin Braithwaite on the left side was deflected and looped toward the far post of the U.S. goal. Denmark’s Lasse Schöne and the USA’s Timmy Chandler challenged for the deflected ball, which ultimately fell to Bendtner, who lashed a first-time volley low past screened U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando. USA 2 DEN 2 (SEE GOAL)

DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Christian Eriksen), 90+1 minute: A Nick Rimando goal kick was allowed to bounce around the midfield stripe and Denmark won the second ball, moving it to Eriksen wide in the left channel. The Denmark captain directed a long ball over the top to Bendtner, who cradled the pass with a fluid first touch before smacking a low shot past Rimando into the far side netting from 16 yards out. USA 2, DEN 3 (SEE GOAL) FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Nick Rimando (Save) 16th minute:
Denmark curled in a cross from the left channel to the far post which just skipped by striker Nicklas Bendtner, before Rimando turned it around the post with a diving save.

USA – Nick Rimando & Michael Orozco (Save), 48th minute: A defensive mix-up led to an opening for Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, who snapped a wide open shot from the right side, which Rimando expertly beat away. However, the ball continued to roll toward the U.S. goal before Michael Orozco was able to clear it to safety.

Milestone Watch:

  • Timmy Chandler scored his first career point for the U.S. MNT with his assist in the first half.
  • Jozy Altidore’s first-half goal was the 27th of his career and his second this year. He is three goals behind Brian McBride for fourth on the USA’s all-time scoring list.
  • Ventura Alvarado earned his first cap for the U.S. MNT, entering in the 80th minute to replace Michael Orozco.

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT faces Switzerland at 12 p.m. ET on March 31 in Zurich.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1, UniMas, Univision Deportes Network
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer@ussoccer_esp); FacebookInstagram

Additional Notes:

  • Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, making his first start as captain for the USA, were the only two players to feature for the MNT during the last time it faced Denmark in this stadium in 2009.
  • Nick Rimando made his first appearance and start in Europe for the USA.
  • Greg Garza has now started four of the last six matches for which he was available.
  • The two at the top of the USA’s 4-4-2 were Altidore and Johannsson, who were previously teammates at AZ Alkmaar. Altidore assisted on Johannsson’s goal in the 68th minute.
  • Before the match, the Denmark crowd gave Aron Johannsson, who had played at NRGi park before as a member of the Danish club AGF Aarhus, a warm reception when his name was called. It was his first start since 2013, and his first appearance since entering for Jozy Altidore in the 2-1 win against Ghana in the USA’s opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

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

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Denmark
Date: March 25, 2015
Tournament: International Friendly
Venue: NRGi Park; Aarhus, Denmark
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Attendance: 10,505
Weather: 41 degrees; Cloudy 

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            1          1          2
DEN                            1          2          3 

USA – Jozy Altidore (Timmy Chandler)         19th minute
DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Lasse Vibe)           33
USA – Aron Johannsson (Jozy Altidore)        66
DEN – Nicklas Bendtner                                83
DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Christian Eriksen) 90+1

Lineups:
USA: 1-Nick Rimando; 21-Timmy Chandler, 15-Michael Orozco (19-Ventura Alvarado, 80), 6-John Brooks, 3-Greg Garza; 20-Gyasi Zardes (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 67) 11-Alejandro Bedoya (7-Alfredo Morales, 46), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson (13-Brek Shea, 46); 17-Jozy Altidore, 9-Aron Johannsson (18-Rubio Rubin, 67)
Subs not used: 5-Tim Ream, 10-Miguel Ibarra, 14-Danny Williams, 16-Julian Green, 22-Williams Yarbrough
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

DEN: 16-Stephan Andersen; 2-Daniel Wass, 3-Simon Kjar, 4-Erik Sviatchenko, 5-Nicolai Bollesen (17-Simon Busk Poulsen, 53); 7-William Kvist (23-Anders Christiansen, 46), 18-Jakob Poulsen (19-Thomas Delaney, 46), 21-Lasse Vibe (8-Martin Braithwaite, 74), 10-Christian Eriksen (capt.); 9-Michael Krohn-Dehli (14-Lasse Schöne, 78), 11-Nicklas Bendtner
Subs not used: 1-Kasper Schmeichel, 6-Las Jacobsen, 12-Mathias Zanka Jorgensen, 13-Kian H. Hansen, 22-Jonas Lössl
Head Coach: Morten Olsen
 

Stats Summary: USA / DEN
Shots: 4 / 12
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 17 / 13
Offside: 1 / 0 

Misconduct Summary:
DEN – William Kvist (caution)                    25th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution)                     78       
USA – Ventura Alvarado (caution)              89

Officials:
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan-Peter Aravirta (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mikko Alakare (FIN)
Fourth Official: Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen (DEN)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore

GOAL - Aron Johannsson Bags USA's Second of the Game

Aron Johannsson's goal gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead against Denmark. Watch live on ESPN and Univision.

GOAL - Altidore Blast Gives U.S. Early Lead against Denmark

Jozy Altidore scored to make it 1-0 vs. Denmark.

Teammates Last Week, Opponents Today

When the U.S. MNT and Denmark face off on Wednesday, it will be a matchup of a USA squad coming off a 2-0 win against Panama in February, and a Danish team that leads its 2016 European Cup qualification group.

It will also be a collision of club teammates. DeAndre Yedlin and Denmark’s Christian Eriksen both play for English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur; Aron Johannsson is teammates with defender Simon Busk Pouslen at AZ Alkmaar; and Alejandro Bedoya and Kian Hansen play together at Nantes.

For the players, bragging rights are on the line.

 “It’s definitely a lot of mind games.” Bedoya said of playing against his Nantes teammate Hansen. “We’ve been talking since before we came here about who the better team is. It’s fun getting to play against a teammate of yours. He’s a good guy. I hang around with him a lot on the field, but as we all know, once the game starts and the whistle blows, we’re enemies. We’re all going to try and do whatever it takes to win. Denmark’s a good team.”

Yedlin also spoke highly of his Spurs teammate and (temporary) opponent.

“He’s (Eriksen) a great player and I’ve learned a lot from getting to play alongside him.” Yedlin said. He also added however, that he’d love to be able to go home and have a USA win of which to remind Eriksen when they’re training in Tottenham.

Johansson echoed similar words for his teammate Pouslen, whom he called one of the best. 

“It’s always great going up against a teammate. Hopefully we’ll walk away with the win.” 

North Star: Miguel Ibarra's Journey to the USMNT

When Minnesota United FC midfielder Miguel Ibarra received his first U.S. Men’s National Team call-up from Jurgen Klinsmann last fall, it turned some heads, including his own.

“I was caught off-guard. I didn't know if it was a prank or not,” he told media last October.

Given history, the reaction is understandable.

Selected late in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft by the Portland Timbers, Ibarra was cut before the season began, only to be picked up later by Minnesota in the North American Soccer League.

Though his Portland turn served an early blow, United head coach Manny Lagos showed faith in his abilities early during his tenure with the club. The Lancaster, California product repaid it in droves, going on to amass 14 goals and 13 assists in 81 appearances during his first three seasons in the Twin Cities.

Of those, his four goals and an assist last September won him the league’s Player of the Month award and was likely determining factor when Klinsmann named him to the U.S. squad for friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras the following month.

Miguel Ibarra training
Miguel Ibarra prepares a running volley while in training with the MNT in Zurich, Switzerland.

“While it was surprising, the call-up was well-earned,” Lagos told ussoccer.com. “There was a lot of pride from this organization, a lot of pride that he deserved this because he’s a good guy, a good person and he worked so hard.”

Preparing to enter U.S. camp, Ibarra leaned on Lagos, who had his own run with the U.S. team leading up to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, for advice.

“Since the first time I went to Minnesota, Manny’s given me confidence,” Ibarra said. “He knew I could play. He’s always telling me do what I do best. When I got called up he said, ‘just do what you do in Minnesota, you’ll be fine.’ Him giving me confidence and telling me to take advice from players, listen to Jurgen - I’ve taken every piece that he’s given me.”

With the summons, Ibarra became the first U.S. second division player to earn a look with the MNT since Clyde Simms, then with the Richmond Kickers, took part in two camps and earned a single cap in a friendly with England in May 2005.

Like Simms that day in Chicago, Ibarra made a stoppage time cameo in the USA’s 1-1 draw with Honduras last October 14 in Boca Raton. Having achieved his first cap before ever playing in the American top-flight, Ibarra returned to Minnesota where he was named to his second straight NASL Best XI and also won the league’s Golden Ball as Most Valuable Player.

While Simms did utilize his U.S. soiree to earn an MLS contract with D.C. United, the appearance against England was the end of his international career. Conversely, the 24-year-old Ibarra was called into his fourth-straight National Team camp on Sunday after earning his first start in the team’s 2-0 victory against Panama last month.

Miguel Ibarra vs. Panama
Miguel Ibarra takes on Panama's Leonel Parris in the USA's 2-0 win at StubHub Center on Feb. 8, 2015.

“He has a lot of cards in his pockets,” Klinsmann told reporters in the lead-up to that match. “He's an endless runner, he can tie up [defenders], he's technically very gifted, he has a great vision, he sees through people to play the killer balls, he's not afraid in front of the goal to finish things himself. There's a huge amount of talent there, and while he's in the middle of that process, he's developing a personality.”

As Ibarra has adjusted to being a big fish in the smaller NASL pond, Lagos said he’s handled the extra attention and responsibility that comes with it like a true pro.

“You try to get them to be able to look short-term and long-term and stay focused on what a soccer career is. It’s both National Team and club, and both are going really well for Miguel right now. He’s had to absorb new stresses from an expectation standpoint and from a leadership standpoint, and he’s done very well.”

“It’s important for him to stay focused to always try to get better. There are times when you get accolades and you can become complacent. The biggest thing for him is to use these call ups and the growth of our team to continue to get better.”

While the new-found attention brought with it offseason rumors that Ibarra may be off to an MLS club this season, nothing came of it. Instead, he’ll kick off his fourth season with Minnesota United once he returns from the pair of friendlies in Europe this week.

Ibarra remains under contract with the NASL side through the 2016 season and Lagos acknowledges that having a U.S. international player on his roster is special. But if Ibarra continues to earn calls from Klinsmann, it may be difficult to keep him from an MLS debut.

“It’s an exciting time for him and for our club,” Lagos said. “The reality is, this is how a lot of players in different leagues get noticed by working really hard and doing well. Ultimately for us as a club, and along with Miguel, we’re going to be open and honest and try to navigate the growth of soccer with the umbrella of the global game in mind and hopefully whatever transpires in the future, it’s a win-win for the club and player.” 

Klinsmann and MNT Face European Test against Denmark

The U.S. MNT gathered in Zurich for a few days of training before traveling to Aarhus to face Denmark. Aron Johannsson and Danny Williams, who return to the squad after long absences, look to restore their spot in the squad and mainstays Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley look forward to facing tough European opposition.

Q&A: Michael Bradley "Everybody Realizes What a Big Year It Is"

Michael Bradley is the most experienced player on the roster going into Wednesday’s game in Aarhus, and along with Jozy Altidore played with the U.S. MNT the last time it matched up with Denmark in 2009. He discusses the importance of this camp as the team builds toward the Gold Cup this summer.

ussoccer.com: Where does this camp fit in the building process towards the Gold Cup this summer?

Michael Bradley: I think it’s a good opportunity for us to have more of our full group together. Obviously January camp was a good period for the MLS-based players, and I think the work that got put in, certainly the two games, were really helpful for us as we got going into our seasons and as we started to build into an important year with the National Team. I think the opportunity to have 10 days together in Europe, with two more good games, means that process can continue. It’s an exciting time because I think everybody realizes what a big year it is.

ussoccer.com: It’s a quick turnaround from arrival to the first game in Denmark. What are the things players need to do mentally and physically to be ready?

MB: It’s getting here and getting yourself settled as quickly as possible. Getting good rest, making sure you’re doing the right things off of the field in terms of treatment, eating, drinking and obviously using the few training sessions we have to make sure that the group is ready to go.

ussoccer.com: Denmark is an opponent that many people in the U.S. may not understand as a very competitive team. What does Denmark bring to the table?

MB: It’s a very, very good team. Maybe not the biggest name in Europe, but a team that has big players who play at really good clubs across Europe. It’s a team that on their day has always been able to not only play with, but also beat some of the best teams. So I think for us it’s a great test. Going to play in Denmark certainly will make it even more difficult and like I said, it’s an exciting game for us.

ussoccer.com: The U.S. has several big friendlies in Europe before the Gold Cup this summer. Are there different things to be gained playing in Europe as opposed to at home?

MB: Absolutely. I think the experiences gained playing in these types of games in Europe are really important ones. I can remember for myself as a young player, as a guy trying to find my way in the National Team, that these friendlies at the beginning of a cycle where you’re playing against good teams in their home stadiums and their country, I think they provide big tests. And I think the guys that are able to use them in the right way, push themselves, and know that every play isn’t going to be perfect, every game isn’t going to be perfect, but kind of understand that you need to have a strong mentality and a commitment to keep going, they are able to really us these as helpful games along the way. It means that a few years down the line when we get to a Confederations Cup, when we get to a World Cup, and that spotlight comes on even brighter, we have a group of guys that are used to playing in these types of games. You have a group of guys that are battle-hardened in a way. These are important steps.

Michael Bradley is tracked by SUI Gokhan Inler and Hakan Yakin during a 1-0 U.S. win in Basel in 2007
A young Michael Bradley evades Switzerland's Gokhan Inler (left) and Hakan Yakin (right) during a 1-0 U.S. win in Basel in 2007.

ussoccer.com: After a post-World Cup period where there has been a lot of transition going on and results weren’t exactly what you were looking for, does it add importance to these games?

MB: You always want to win. We step on the field every time to get a result, to play well and push ourselves to improve and to ultimately win the game. Obviously depending on the timing of a game, depending on where you are in a cycle, there can be a little more or less emphasis placed on some of those things. For us this is a period where now some new guys have been brought in, some new guys have been given opportunities and shown confidence to play and play big roles, and we have to understand that we have to be patient with that. Obviously it’s up to the older players, the leaders, the coaches, to make sure the right balance is found, to make sure that we are holding everybody to as high a standard as we normally do, and to make sure that the level doesn’t drop. We have to make sure that we’re still coming away with the results that we need, but there also has to be an understanding this is still a part of it and the biggest games are still to come.

Teammates Last Week, Opponents Today

When the U.S. MNT and Denmark face off on Wednesday, it will be a matchup of a USA squad coming off a 2-0 win against Panama in February, and a Danish team that leads its 2016 European Cup qualification group.

It will also be a collision of club teammates. DeAndre Yedlin and Denmark’s Christian Eriksen both play for English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur; Aron Johannsson is teammates with defender Simon Busk Pouslen at AZ Alkmaar; and Alejandro Bedoya and Kian Hansen play together at Nantes.

For the players, bragging rights are on the line.

 “It’s definitely a lot of mind games.” Bedoya said of playing against his Nantes teammate Hansen. “We’ve been talking since before we came here about who the better team is. It’s fun getting to play against a teammate of yours. He’s a good guy. I hang around with him a lot on the field, but as we all know, once the game starts and the whistle blows, we’re enemies. We’re all going to try and do whatever it takes to win. Denmark’s a good team.”

Yedlin also spoke highly of his Spurs teammate and (temporary) opponent.

“He’s (Eriksen) a great player and I’ve learned a lot from getting to play alongside him.” Yedlin said. He also added however, that he’d love to be able to go home and have a USA win of which to remind Eriksen when they’re training in Tottenham.

Johansson echoed similar words for his teammate Pouslen, whom he called one of the best. 

“It’s always great going up against a teammate. Hopefully we’ll walk away with the win.” 

North Star: Miguel Ibarra's Journey to the USMNT

When Minnesota United FC midfielder Miguel Ibarra received his first U.S. Men’s National Team call-up from Jurgen Klinsmann last fall, it turned some heads, including his own.

“I was caught off-guard. I didn't know if it was a prank or not,” he told media last October.

Given history, the reaction is understandable.

Selected late in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft by the Portland Timbers, Ibarra was cut before the season began, only to be picked up later by Minnesota in the North American Soccer League.

Though his Portland turn served an early blow, United head coach Manny Lagos showed faith in his abilities early during his tenure with the club. The Lancaster, California product repaid it in droves, going on to amass 14 goals and 13 assists in 81 appearances during his first three seasons in the Twin Cities.

Of those, his four goals and an assist last September won him the league’s Player of the Month award and was likely determining factor when Klinsmann named him to the U.S. squad for friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras the following month.

Miguel Ibarra training
Miguel Ibarra prepares a running volley while in training with the MNT in Zurich, Switzerland.

“While it was surprising, the call-up was well-earned,” Lagos told ussoccer.com. “There was a lot of pride from this organization, a lot of pride that he deserved this because he’s a good guy, a good person and he worked so hard.”

Preparing to enter U.S. camp, Ibarra leaned on Lagos, who had his own run with the U.S. team leading up to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, for advice.

“Since the first time I went to Minnesota, Manny’s given me confidence,” Ibarra said. “He knew I could play. He’s always telling me do what I do best. When I got called up he said, ‘just do what you do in Minnesota, you’ll be fine.’ Him giving me confidence and telling me to take advice from players, listen to Jurgen - I’ve taken every piece that he’s given me.”

With the summons, Ibarra became the first U.S. second division player to earn a look with the MNT since Clyde Simms, then with the Richmond Kickers, took part in two camps and earned a single cap in a friendly with England in May 2005.

Like Simms that day in Chicago, Ibarra made a stoppage time cameo in the USA’s 1-1 draw with Honduras last October 14 in Boca Raton. Having achieved his first cap before ever playing in the American top-flight, Ibarra returned to Minnesota where he was named to his second straight NASL Best XI and also won the league’s Golden Ball as Most Valuable Player.

While Simms did utilize his U.S. soiree to earn an MLS contract with D.C. United, the appearance against England was the end of his international career. Conversely, the 24-year-old Ibarra was called into his fourth-straight National Team camp on Sunday after earning his first start in the team’s 2-0 victory against Panama last month.

Miguel Ibarra vs. Panama
Miguel Ibarra takes on Panama's Leonel Parris in the USA's 2-0 win at StubHub Center on Feb. 8, 2015.

“He has a lot of cards in his pockets,” Klinsmann told reporters in the lead-up to that match. “He's an endless runner, he can tie up [defenders], he's technically very gifted, he has a great vision, he sees through people to play the killer balls, he's not afraid in front of the goal to finish things himself. There's a huge amount of talent there, and while he's in the middle of that process, he's developing a personality.”

As Ibarra has adjusted to being a big fish in the smaller NASL pond, Lagos said he’s handled the extra attention and responsibility that comes with it like a true pro.

“You try to get them to be able to look short-term and long-term and stay focused on what a soccer career is. It’s both National Team and club, and both are going really well for Miguel right now. He’s had to absorb new stresses from an expectation standpoint and from a leadership standpoint, and he’s done very well.”

“It’s important for him to stay focused to always try to get better. There are times when you get accolades and you can become complacent. The biggest thing for him is to use these call ups and the growth of our team to continue to get better.”

While the new-found attention brought with it offseason rumors that Ibarra may be off to an MLS club this season, nothing came of it. Instead, he’ll kick off his fourth season with Minnesota United once he returns from the pair of friendlies in Europe this week.

Ibarra remains under contract with the NASL side through the 2016 season and Lagos acknowledges that having a U.S. international player on his roster is special. But if Ibarra continues to earn calls from Klinsmann, it may be difficult to keep him from an MLS debut.

“It’s an exciting time for him and for our club,” Lagos said. “The reality is, this is how a lot of players in different leagues get noticed by working really hard and doing well. Ultimately for us as a club, and along with Miguel, we’re going to be open and honest and try to navigate the growth of soccer with the umbrella of the global game in mind and hopefully whatever transpires in the future, it’s a win-win for the club and player.” 

Q&A: Michael Bradley "Everybody Realizes What a Big Year It Is"

Michael Bradley is the most experienced player on the roster going into Wednesday’s game in Aarhus, and along with Jozy Altidore played with the U.S. MNT the last time it matched up with Denmark in 2009. He discusses the importance of this camp as the team builds toward the Gold Cup this summer.

ussoccer.com: Where does this camp fit in the building process towards the Gold Cup this summer?

Michael Bradley: I think it’s a good opportunity for us to have more of our full group together. Obviously January camp was a good period for the MLS-based players, and I think the work that got put in, certainly the two games, were really helpful for us as we got going into our seasons and as we started to build into an important year with the National Team. I think the opportunity to have 10 days together in Europe, with two more good games, means that process can continue. It’s an exciting time because I think everybody realizes what a big year it is.

ussoccer.com: It’s a quick turnaround from arrival to the first game in Denmark. What are the things players need to do mentally and physically to be ready?

MB: It’s getting here and getting yourself settled as quickly as possible. Getting good rest, making sure you’re doing the right things off of the field in terms of treatment, eating, drinking and obviously using the few training sessions we have to make sure that the group is ready to go.

ussoccer.com: Denmark is an opponent that many people in the U.S. may not understand as a very competitive team. What does Denmark bring to the table?

MB: It’s a very, very good team. Maybe not the biggest name in Europe, but a team that has big players who play at really good clubs across Europe. It’s a team that on their day has always been able to not only play with, but also beat some of the best teams. So I think for us it’s a great test. Going to play in Denmark certainly will make it even more difficult and like I said, it’s an exciting game for us.

ussoccer.com: The U.S. has several big friendlies in Europe before the Gold Cup this summer. Are there different things to be gained playing in Europe as opposed to at home?

MB: Absolutely. I think the experiences gained playing in these types of games in Europe are really important ones. I can remember for myself as a young player, as a guy trying to find my way in the National Team, that these friendlies at the beginning of a cycle where you’re playing against good teams in their home stadiums and their country, I think they provide big tests. And I think the guys that are able to use them in the right way, push themselves, and know that every play isn’t going to be perfect, every game isn’t going to be perfect, but kind of understand that you need to have a strong mentality and a commitment to keep going, they are able to really us these as helpful games along the way. It means that a few years down the line when we get to a Confederations Cup, when we get to a World Cup, and that spotlight comes on even brighter, we have a group of guys that are used to playing in these types of games. You have a group of guys that are battle-hardened in a way. These are important steps.

Michael Bradley is tracked by SUI Gokhan Inler and Hakan Yakin during a 1-0 U.S. win in Basel in 2007
A young Michael Bradley evades Switzerland's Gokhan Inler (left) and Hakan Yakin (right) during a 1-0 U.S. win in Basel in 2007.

ussoccer.com: After a post-World Cup period where there has been a lot of transition going on and results weren’t exactly what you were looking for, does it add importance to these games?

MB: You always want to win. We step on the field every time to get a result, to play well and push ourselves to improve and to ultimately win the game. Obviously depending on the timing of a game, depending on where you are in a cycle, there can be a little more or less emphasis placed on some of those things. For us this is a period where now some new guys have been brought in, some new guys have been given opportunities and shown confidence to play and play big roles, and we have to understand that we have to be patient with that. Obviously it’s up to the older players, the leaders, the coaches, to make sure the right balance is found, to make sure that we are holding everybody to as high a standard as we normally do, and to make sure that the level doesn’t drop. We have to make sure that we’re still coming away with the results that we need, but there also has to be an understanding this is still a part of it and the biggest games are still to come.

Aron Johannsson: Going back to Aarhus

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Aron Johannsson when the USA takes the field against Denmark. The 2014 FIFA World Cup veteran spent four years (2010-2013) with Danish Superliga club AGF Aarhus, which plays its home matches at NRGi Park, the site of Wednesday’s match. The forward said that playing there was instrumental in his development as a soccer player. 

“That was my first club as a professional soccer player and it had a huge influence on my career. Maybe if I hadn’t gone there, who would know where I would be today?” 

In 65 games with AGF, Johannsson scored 23 goals, and in 2011 he played a big part in the team’s promotion to the Danish Superliga. The 24-year old views this as a return to his roots and is excited to take the field in a familiar setting, and share the city and the experience with his teammates. 

“For me personally it’s a really nice city. I hope [my teammates] are going to enjoy it. Obviously it’s not a 10 million-person city, but it’s just a nice small city and it was very nice to live there. I can’t wait to be back.” 

It will not be the first time Aarhus will welcome in a familiar American face. Former U.S. MNT midfielder Benny Feilhaber also played for AGF (2008-11) and started in his own Danish homecoming match the last time the USA played at NRGi Park in 2009.

Sept. 5, 2009 - Benny Feilhaber - Gold Cup qualifier vs. El Salvador
USMNT midfielder Benny Feilhaber earned 41 caps during his USA tenure.

MNT Begins Road to Gold Cup against Denmark

The U.S. Men’s National Team visits Denmark for the first of four challenging road friendlies in advance of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Kickoff at NRGi Park in Aarhus is set for Wednesday, March 25 at 3 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMás and univisiondeportes.com. Fans can also follow along on Twitter via @ussoccer and @usssoccer_esp.

Six days later, the USA meets No. 12-ranked Switzerland – one of the eight seeded teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup – on March 31 in Zurich (FOX Sports 1, UniMás, UDN). In June, the United States will take on two top-five ranked teams, meeting fifth-ranked Netherlands in Amsterdam before facing 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany in Cologne. 

Klinsmann has 22 players training in Europe for the March friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland, including 10 players from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Roster. U.S. team captain Clint Dempsey suffered a right hamstring strain in training Monday and has been ruled out for both matches.

Wednesday’s game marks the USA’s first international friendly in Denmark since the team’s 3-1 defeat on Nov. 18, 2009. The U.S. is 1-2-3 all-time against Denmark, with its win and two of the draws coming on U.S. soil. Denmark currently sits atop Group I in 2016 European Championship qualifying.

Meantime, the U-23 Men’s National Team will play Bosnia-Herzegovina (March 27) and Denmark’s U-23’s (March 31) in preparation for Olympic qualifying this October, while the U-20 MNT has games against Tottenham (March 27) and England’s U-21 side (March 29) as it gears up for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup beginning May 30 in New Zealand.

Kenny Cooper vs. Denmark - Jan. 20, 2007 - Carson, Calif.
Former USMNT forward Kenny Cooper helped the U.S. record a 3-1 win against Denmark in 2007.

USA vs. DENMARK:

  • The United States is 1-2-3 all-time against Denmark and has earned a win or draw in two of the last three matches. The two teams have combined to score 19 goals in six matches, with the USA scoring eight and surrendering 11.
  • The most recent encounter between the two was the USA’s 3-1 defeat on Nov. 18, 2009, at NRGi Park in Aarhus. Despite having played Denmark five times heading into the game, this was the first played in Denmark. The U.S. found the net early when Jeff Cunningham scored his first international goal 26 minutes into the game to give the USA a 1-0 lead. In the second half, Denmark came out hot, scoring three times in the first 10 minutes to notch the final 3-1 scoreline. Both Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley appeared in that game and are the only players active in the current squad to have played against Denmark.
  • In 2007, the game between the two nations played out as an opposite of what occurred in 2009. In Carson, California, the USA played to an efficient 3-1 victory. The Danes struck first in the 37th minute, but the U.S. followed with goals from Landon Donovan, Jonathan Bornstein and Kenny Cooper to pick up a 3-1 victory and its first win against Denmark.
  • The match represents a homecoming for Aron Johannsson, who played at Aarhus from 2010-12, amassing 23 goals in 65 appearances.
  • DeAndre Yedlin and Denmark’s Christian Eriksen both play for English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, while Johannsson is teammates with defender Simon Busk Pouslen at AZ Alkmaar. Alejandro Bedoya and Kian Hansen also play together at Nantes.

U.S. Men’s National Team by Position – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Hamburg), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht)

U.S. ROSTER NOTES:

  • A total of 10 players on the roster were members of the 2014 FIFA World Cup roster that traveled to Brazil and helped the USA advance out of the “Group of Death,” including two goalscorers (John Brooks and Julian Green).
  • Michael Bradley was the only player who started in all four matches for the USA during the World Cup.
  • Bradley is the leading cap winner on the roster and is in line to soon reach the century mark, having played 93 games.
  • Seven countries and nine leagues are represented on the roster: Canada, England, France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, and the United States.
  • Jozy Altidore, Bradley and Brek Shea are the goalscorers for the U.S. in 2015. At club level, Altidore netted a pair of goals in his debut match for Toronto FC to start the 2015 MLS season.
  • Goalkeeper Nick Rimando boasts an impressive 11-1-2 career record with four shutouts.
  • Greg Garza played in the last five games of 2014 starting three following the World Cup. The Club Tijuana left back has been a part of every level of U.S. National Team programming, beginning with the U-14’s.
  • Aron Johannsson has the chance to make his first appearance for the USA since replacing Jozy Altidore in the first half of the USA’s 2-1 win against Ghana in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup. He has been hampered by injuries since then and is fighting his way back into the lineup at AZ Alkmaar.
  • Danny Williams also has the opportunity to get his first action since March 5, 2014, when he appeared against Ukraine in Cyprus.
  • Rubio Rubin and Green are the only MNT players on the roster age-eligible for this summer’s FIFA U-20 World Cup.
  • Rubin, who scored over the weekend for Utrecht, earned his first MNT cap and start on Nov. 14, 2014, against No. 3-ranked Colombia.
  • William Yarbrough was born and raised in Mexico to two American parents. He marshaled the backline for Club Leon to the 2013 Apertura and 2014 Clausura titles. This is Yarbrough’s first call up to the U.S. Men’s National Team.
  • Miguel Ibarra, who earned his first cap for the U.S. in 2014, is the reigning MVP of the NASL. 


Players gather around USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann at the close of training in Zurich, Switzerland.

IN THE RECORD BOOKS:

  • Jozy Altidore is fifth on the MNT’s all-time goal scoring list with 26 goals, adding his first goal of the year against Chile in January. Altidore is now four goals behind fourth-place Brian McBride (30 goals from 1993-2006).
  • Midfielder Michael Bradley is inching closer to the century cap mark with 93 appearances since debuting for the MNT in 2006. He is 18th on the MNT all-time list, two appearances behind McBride.
  • Bradley is ranked 13th on the all-time goals scored list with 13 goals, and is tied with Marcelo Balboa and Hugo Perez.
  • Nick Rimando ranks fifth on the all-time wins list with 11. The Real Salt Lake man is 11-1-2 all-time with the USA, his only loss coming against Chile in January.
  • U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann (34-16-11) ranks third among the USA’s all-time winningest coaches. Ahead of Klinsmann are National Soccer Hall of Famers, Bruce Arena (71) and Bob Bradley (43).

BY THE NUMBERS:
4                Players on the U.S. MNT roster playing in Mexico’s Liga MX
5                Players on seeking their first international cap
26              Career goals by Altidore, who is fifth on the USA’s all-time scoring list
28              Denmark’s current FIFA ranking
32              USA’s current FIFA ranking
34              Victories under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann

2015 U.S. MNT SCHEDULE:

Date

Opponent

Result/Time (ET)

U.S. Goal Scorers/TV

Venue

Jan. 28

Chile

2-3 L

Shea, Altidore

Estadio El Teniente; Rancagua, Chile

Feb. 8

Panama

2-0 W

Bradley, Dempsey

StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.

March 25

Denmark

3 p.m.

ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMás, univisiondeportes.com

NRGi Park; Århus, Denmark

March 31

Switzerland

12 p.m.

FOX Sports 1, UniMás, univisiondeportes.com

Stadion Letzigrund; Zurich, Switzerland

April 15

Mexico

8:30 p.m.

FOX Sports 1, UniMás, univisiondeportes.com

Alamodome; San Antonio, Texas

June 5

Netherlands

2:30 p.m.

ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMás, univisiondeportes.com

Amsterdam Arena; Amsterdam, Netherlands

June 10

Germany

2:45 p.m.

FOX Sports 1, UniMás, univisiondeportes.com

Rhein Energie Stadion; Cologne, Germany

July 7

Honduras OR French Guiana

9:30

FOX Sports 1, UniMás

Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas

July 10

Haiti

8:30

FOX Sports 1, UniMás

Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Mass.

July 13

Panama

9:30

FOX Sports 1, UniMás

Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.

JURGEN KLINSMANN FACT FILE: Jurgen Klinsmann became the 35th head coach in the history of the U.S. Men’s National Team on July 29, 2011. Here is a look at the program’s achievements since that time:

  • Overall, Klinsmann has a 34-16-11 record. He is third on the U.S. MNT’s all-time coaching wins list. The top five include: Bruce Arena (71), Bob Bradley (43), Klinsmann (34), Bora Milutinovic (30) and Steve Sampson (26).
  • He won a record-setting 13 straight games at home from June 2, 2013 to Feb. 1, 2014, and has guided the team to an unbeaten record of 17-0-3 in its past 20 matches on home soil.
  • He led the MNT to a 12-game winning streak in 2013, the longest in program history.
  • The U.S. finished 2013 with a 16-4-3 record. The 16 victories and .761 winning percentage are all-time U.S. MNT records for a calendar year.
  • The U.S. finished the final round of 2013 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying atop the Hexagonal with a 7-1-2 overall record, including an unblemished 5-0-0 home record that was achieved by pitching clean sheets in all five matches.
  • The team won six straight games en route to capturing the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, during which the squad scored a tournament-record 20 goals.
  • Committed to challenging the group against the best, under Klinsmann, the United States has a 2-3-2 record against teams ranked in the top 10 in the world. With Klinsmann at the helm, the U.S. has also collected four historic victories:
    • Beating four-time World Cup champion Italy for the first time
    • Earning the first win against Mexico on Mexican soil
    • Defeating Jamaica on the road for the first time in World Cup Qualifying
    • Topping second-ranked Germany in U.S. Soccer’s Centennial Celebration Match
  • Klinsmann’s U.S. coaching debut was a 1-1 draw against Mexico on Aug. 10, 2011, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. During Klinsmann’s abbreviated 2011 tenure, the USA’s two victories included a 1-0 win against Honduras (Oct. 8) and a 3-2 victory against Slovenia (Nov. 15).
  • Klinsmann was named Germany’s National Team manager in 2004 and guided Germany to a 20-6-8 record and a third-place finish in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He earned Coach of the Year honors in Germany, and two years later, he took over the head coaching position at Germany’s most high-profile club, Bayern Munich.
  • As a player, Klinsmann played 17 club seasons from 1981-98 with the following teams: Stuttgarter Kickers (1981-84), VfB Stuttgart (1984-89), Internazionale (1989-92), Monaco (1992-94), Tottenham Hotspur (1994-95, 97-98), Bayern Munich (1995-97) and Sampdoria (1997-98). During that time, he scored 226 goals in 506 appearances. He was named German Player of the Year in 1988 and 1994 and FWA Footballer of the Year in 1995.
  • Klinsmann earned 108 caps with the German National Team, scoring 47 goals. He participated in three World Cups (1990, 1994 and 1998) and won the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
  • Klinsmann was born on July 30, 1964, in Goppingen, Germany.

Gallery: MNT Hits the Training Pitch in Zurich

The U.S. MNT has gathered in Zurich for a pair of international friendlies against Denmark (March 25) and Switzerland (March 31). The team got right out on the training pitch ahead of the game against Denmark, which kicks off at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday at NRGi Park in Aarhus, Denmark. The match will be broadcast on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMás and UDN. Fans can catch all the latest from the USA's trip to Europe on Facebook, Twitter @ussoccer, @ussoccer_esp and Instagram @ussoccer

THREE'S CAMPANY

March 2015 is the curtain raiser on a busy cycle for the men’s side of the U.S. National Team program.

And USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will use the March friendlies at Denmark and Switzerland as prep for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, while also wearing his other hat as Technical Director as he helps oversee a busy time for the U.S. U-20 and U-23 MNT sides that will hold simultaneous European camps at the end of the month.

Beginning preparations for CONCACAF Olympic qualification in October, USMNT assistant coach Andi Herzog convenes his first camp in charge of the U-23 side ahead of games at Bosnia-Herzegovina (March 27) and Denmark (March 31). Meanwhile, having recently qualified for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, U-20 head coach Tab Ramos will bring his team to England for a pair of matches against the England U-21s and Tottenham Hotspur U-21s.

“For the youngsters to look towards the U-20 World Cup is huge,” Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. “For the U-23s, we have to get them going in order to prepare for the qualifiers later this year towards the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Andi Herzog has his hands full with that group. For me and the Senior Team perspective, I’m looking at all these youngsters and thinking who can come through these periods and develop the fastest possible in order to make himself a strong competitor for the senior group. So this is a great time now, and we can’t wait to get these games going at the end of the month.”

BREAKING DOWN THE ROSTERS

 The balance has a telling diversity among the 62 players that have been summoned.

  • Twenty players representing 12 different MLS clubs have been called across the three rosters, while another 30 players from clubs in Germany (11), England (10) and Mexico (9) add to the bulk of the call-ups.
  • Nine of the 18 players called for U-23 camp were part of Tab Ramos’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup squad: Luis Gil, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Eric Miller, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill, Mario Rodriguez, Oscar Sorto, and Wil Trapp.
  • U-23 call-ups Luis Gil, Jordan Morris and Wil Trapp have also already played for the Senior National Team.
  • Five of the U-20 call-ups were part of the U.S. U-17 World Cup qualifying campaign in 2013: Jeff Caldwell, Conor Donovan, Junior Flores, Shaquell Moore and John Requejo.
 

With all three camps taking place at the same time, the understanding between the three coaches, all of whom worked together at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, has been key as Klinsmann has continued to develop a structure that works not only for the senior team but helps develop players that will one day play for it.

“In terms of style of play, it’s the same approach that Jurgen has and what Tab Ramos has done with the U-20s,” Herzog said in regards to coaching the U-23s. “We all work together with the senior team. For this group, I want to have a team where there are a lot of variations. We want to be attack-minded, keep possession, and have the whole team proactively working to win the ball back as soon as possible.”

Though just beginning the U-23 cycle, with the previous team missing out on qualification for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Herzog said the task of getting the team to Rio next year begins with his new side understanding the playing philosophy being handed down this initial camp.

“It’s a big goal, and I think it will be really important to start from the first session to get the players into this philosophy.”

Beyond ensuring a similar playing style, the understanding has perhaps been most important when figuring out how to balance three different rosters with players that could go between two different teams.

 “It’s all very clear,” Ramos told ussoccer.com. “Jurgen and I have had a conversation to make sure that we put all things in the right places as we’re moving forward. Obviously having three National Teams go to camp at the same time is not easy.  We don’t all get the players we need at times, and it’s not easy on the clubs because MLS doesn’t stop for the FIFA dates and we’re at times asking for a bunch of players from the same team. We try not to deplete any one club at one time so the conversations between Jurgen, Andi and me as he passes down the information have to be very clear. We’ve done that, we’re all on the same page and I think it’s going to go smoothly.”

A past member of U.S. U-17 and U-20 World Championship squads as well as the 2008 Olympic team, U.S. senior international Jozy Altidore spoke to the value of these experiences for players who are beginning to develop international careers.

“It’s great to be involved at these levels because you get exposed to different types of teams,” said Altidore. “You see early how competitive it is, and how good the up and coming players are. Even getting used to things like travel is valuable. Dealing with all the elements of being an international player helps you get used to it and it becomes less of an issue as you progress, because it doesn’t get any easier. All these things prepare you for what’s to come.”

Altidore joins Beijing 2008 teammates Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco for USMNT camp this month, while another six of the senior players called in have represented the U.S. at various youth World Cups or in qualifying.

“These are important experiences,” continued Altidore. “A lot of the things you see at that level can prepare you for when you make the jump to the senior team, so these guys should take it seriously and get the most of out of it.”

Q&A: Jurgen Klinsmann Breaks Down Thinking Behind Current MNT Squad

U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss the planning, players and team goals surrounding the USA's upcoming European friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland.

ussoccer.com: You have the Gold Cup on the horizon, and also important competitions for the U-23’s with Olympic qualifying and the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup. What were the different factors you considered when putting this group together?

JK: “Well I think it’s really exciting now going into these two game because it’s not only our games with the senior National Team, it’s also the U-23s playing two friendlies, and the U-20s playing a friendly with England. From a senior team perspective, it’s exciting to put players in different areas and get a better picture of where they are right now.  As we juggle the rosters for the different groups, we maybe even have players go between teams at a certain point. Julian Green is a good example. He’s one of those players that can also play for the U-23s. He can play for the U-20s. It’s similar for other players like a John Brooks and a DeAndre Yedlin, Emerson Hyndman, and Rubio Rubin.  Those are all players that we consider for each of those teams, and we want to make the best decision over the next couple of months with these players in order to get the right results when it really matters in the upcoming tournaments. It’s exciting to see that we can bring younger players along and actually have the option to use them in one of those three teams during a very, very busy calendar over the next six months.

ussoccer.com:  In working with Andi Herzog and Tab Ramos, how did you go about balancing the rosters for the Senior Team, the U-23s and U-20s?

JK: “Developing this roster in particular with the fact that you have the U-23s playing two friendlies and you have the U-20s being in England in camp, we tried to consider several things.

"From a senior level, there are many different factors coming together schedule-wise with MLS just starting, and Europe and Mexico in full swing. We also wanted to see what specific players there are that were not connected yet with us. Ventura Alvarado from Club America is a case, and also William Yarbrough, the goalkeeper at Club León that we had a very close look at over the last several months. It’s exciting for us to bring them in. Rubio Rubin is back in our group. Obviously we want to see how we can help our younger players that struggle right now with Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin, who still has to break into the Tottenham lineup. I think it’s a very good group. It’s a very competitive group that we have together for those two friendlies against two very good opponents.

"When you talk about developing players, you always want to prioritize things. You say ‘okay, if this player goes with this team, what would he get out of it, and what could he gain?’ I think there are certain younger players that can gain the most right now if they’re with me. I’m talking about a Julian Green, a John Brooks, a Deandre Yedlin, a Rubio Rubin, but also knowing that if they’re not breaking in right away with me, here’s the next group where he could show what he has. Definitely the closer we get toward the individual competitions, meaning for Tab now the U-20 World Cup, his group will get now more prioritized because we want to have a really strong team going to New Zealand, and the same with the qualifiers for the U-23 team. We are still in the early process for the year, so early March games give us a little more air to say ‘I’ll bring some youngsters with me first, and then we move them on to the Olympic team and Tab’s U-20s’, but I think it’s important for our players to see that we have a plan for them, that we’re looking at their club situation and that we understand the up-and-downs and their struggles, and they know we are here to help them.

“For Julian, it’s important that he has reconnected with us. At the moment Julian struggles with Hamburg. It’s been a very, very difficult time since he came back after the World Cup, with injuries and not breaking in yet, so I decided to have a first look at him. We will have a serious talk and serious look at him and we want to understand exactly what happened in his club situation, but also he needs some support from the senior National Team group.

"At the end of the day, you’ve got to break through no matter what. Deandre Yedlin, you’ve got to kick somebody out of Tottenham to play there. Julian Green, you’ve got to kick somebody out in Hamburg to play there. So the message is the same to all of them. In that process it’s not only what happens on the field, it’s also what happens off the field.  You have young players getting in a different environment, struggling maybe with a new country with a new club environment, so we’re also there to help them develop. This will always be a big discussion point with Tab and with Andi Herzog when we talk about those players.”

ussoccer.com: This is the first FIFA fixture window in several months, so there is this opportunity to bring in a broader group of players. What will you be looking to accomplish in this camp?

JK: “We want to work on a couple of things with these two games with Denmark and a very strong Switzerland. We want to prove that we can really compete with these guys in their countries, in their homes and get results there. We want to see that the players give everything they have in terms of making their own cases for the Gold Cup, because the Gold Cup should obviously should take us to the Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia, so we need to be spot on. This is the way to showcase yourself in these two games. Show us in every training session what you have right now and prove that point in the games as well.  So we want to see a lot of energy, we want to see a lot of discipline, we want to see a lot of commitment.  And we obviously want to get some answers in certain positions where we still kind of juggle things around.”

ussoccer.com: There is certainly a crowd of players in the pool in defense. Where do you see the competition in those spots?

JK: “I think one of the most competitive areas is definitely the centerback situation in our group. We not only have exceptional centerbacks coming out of the World Cup with Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez, now also through MLS with Steven Birnbaum and Matt Hedges, who are two more players that are really, really doing well. You have the players coming through the European system with John Brooks, with Tim Ream in England, and Jonathan Spector is back in the picture as well playing now consistently in the Championship. We have another talent we now introduce to the group with Ventura Alvarado, which is exciting for us. He broke into the Club America lineup months ago and plays consistently week in and week out and it’s very impressive to see him. We went down there to watch him, to connect with him, and saw several games with him and feel like this is a good time to give him the first introduction to the U.S. team. So obviously there’s a lot of competition.”

“Then you’ve got to look at it also calendar-wise. Mexican players right now are in a full run. European players are in a full run. MLS players step-by-step get into the season and now just have two games in their legs, so that all plays a role when you leave players out of the roster for a second and bring other ones in, but I think especially that centerback situation is a very exciting position that will become very competitive towards the Gold Cup.”

ussoccer.com: One of the defenders who would usually be in the mix is Geoff Cameron. Can you talk about the decision to bring in other guys ahead of him for this camp?

JK: “Similar to the situation with Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler coming out of MLS and not being on the roster for these two games is Geoff Cameron. Geoff is obviously in a good swing with Stoke City and the Premier League, but I had long conversations with him and explained that just now I would love see other players coming in and proving to us how good they are. So here and there, there are these 50-50 decisions where you have to leave a player out that is usually a regular on your team. Geoff is that one right now. We know he can play centerback, he can play right back, he can play defensive-mid. He’s so versatile he’s always of great help to the team, but I wanted to see other players now coming in and therefore he has to swallow that pill real quick of being left out in these two March games.”

ussoccer.com:  You also look at the wingbacks and see a lot of options in this group. Does that provide you with flexibility to try something different things?

JK: “I think that we are getting excited to have some options on the wings now as well. We can play DeAndre Yedlin as right back or we can play him as a right winger. Same with Fabian Johnson, who was one of the best right backs in the World Cup in Brazil and is now mostly used as a left winger for Borussia Mönchengladbach, so this kind of gives us some options to play with since the World Cup was done. We can play Gyasi Zardes now after that first introduction in January as a winger, but we can also play him as a forward up front there. We had Greg Garza breaking through from Tijuana as a left back that could shift over Timmy Chandler to the right back. There’s a lot of life happening. We have a lot of options now trying things out, but I think we just also need to grow as an overall group, building chemistry and building spirit towards the Gold Cup, because we’re going to get closer to the summer and we really need to zoom in and become a very united National Team that is very hungry to win the Gold Cup.”

ussoccer.com:  Club America defender Ventura Alvarado is on his way for the first time. How you have been scouting him, and what are his qualities?

JK: “I think Ventura Alvarado is a great example to show how fast it really can go if you break into your club. Obviously a club with the caliber of a Club America is huge. It’s very difficult to break through there, so we understand that. We went down there to watch him several times, been in touch with him for months to see his progress, and we’re excited. We had conversations with him, and he was clear that he would love to represent the United States, that he would love to play for us. So this is a good time. He’s coming full of confidence. Obviously he will be a little bit timid or quiet in the beginning as all players are when they come into a new environment, but for us it’s just great to see a kid that fought himself into the Mexican system in a very, very tough club and now has the capabilities to break into the National Team.”

ussoccer.com:  Danny Williams makes an appearance for the first time in more than a year. What have you seen in his performances that earned him a place back in the squad?

JK: “Obviously you have a big pool of players that you always look at and always follow them. Once we had to make the cut before the World Cup down to 23 players going to Brazil, that didn’t mean that we leave now all the other players that didn’t make it to Brazil out of our sight. We went back to the bigger picture after to World Cup to see how is everybody developing, how is everybody doing in their club systems. Danny Williams is a good example. He couldn’t make the World Cup roster because he was injured. He was even injured until after the World Cup going into the season, so he struggled and had a tough time, but then after a couple of months suddenly he was all injury-free and he picked up his rhythm and now he’s in an FA Cup Semifinal against Arsenal in Wembley in a couple weeks from now. He proved throughout the last 8-10 weeks that he’s in very good shape. He’s very aggressive and very determined and he wants to break back into our group.

"If you look at the development of an Alfredo Morales for example, he’s in the second division in Germany being in first place and guiding that team towards the first Bundesliga and getting very, very good remarks week-in and week-out from the media there. When I send our people over to watch his games, they can see he’s growing. He’s getting stronger every month and he has more confidence. We want to see that confidence also playing out for us. Everybody goes through different stages in his career and we follow all of them, and then obviously the tricky part for coaches is how you put the puzzle together that we will be very competitive and at the end of the day also successful.

"It’s exciting to see players that you maybe think a year ago were not really there, and now they’re there. Half a year ago some players had injury problems and now they’re back. Aron Johansson at AZ Alkmaar had a whole struggle for a couple of months but now he’s back. The moment he gets on the field he finds ways to score and that’s what a goal-scorer is all about. So getting him back into the group is exciting for us as well.

"I think this is a constant work in progress that we’re going through, which obviously gets then to a critical moment once you approach a bigger tournament and you have to make your cut and you have to say these 23 will play the Gold Cup, these are the guys that are going to go through in order to qualify for the Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017.”

ussoccer.com: William Yarbrough is an interesting story in that he was born and raised in Mexico to two American parents, which is unusual for the Mexican-Americans who have been in our system. How did you discover him?

JK: “We have a network of people in Mexico, which was really established by Martin Vasquez when he was with me as my assistant. So we have very good contacts, I can always kind of call people. I can always ask questions about specific players coming through the Liga MX. So William is a great example of how this network works. They call you and they tell you that there’s kid that was born in Mexico to American parents, so he thinks both ways. So we had a close look at him. I had people go to his games. I called him myself and talked to him at length to see where his head is and he was thrilled. When you watch him closer as a specific kind of goalkeeper talent he’s very vocal. He’s very determined. He’s given the talent to lead. He’s a good communicator and just dedicated. You see it in his body language and the energy that he has, but also if he concedes a goal how he moves on. He gets the ball out of the net and says no big deal. He claps his teammate on the shoulder and says ‘let’s go we’ll fix it’. So he has a very positive nature and so it’s exciting for us to have William now within our group for these 10 days and get to know him better and work with him. At the end we’ll ask Chris Woods, our goalkeeper coach, a lot of questions about all of his specifics as a goalkeeper.”

ussoccer.com: He still has the opportunity to play for the United States or Mexico. How will you handle your discussions about his future?

JK: “With William you have another example of a dual-citizenship talent and player that can go either way. This is just part of our life, part of soccer all around the world. It’s just normal. I think at the end of the day, the player has to make the decision with his family. The player has to follow his heart. The player has to say, this is what I feel, because it’s a decision for life, it’s not only a decision for where are you going to play on the soccer field. It means a lot. So we never put the player under pressure. We never expect him to make quick decisions. He has to consult his family, his friends, whoever he wants to consult in that decision, but I think a lot of players realized over the last few years that the door to the U.S. National Team program is always open and that at the end of the day it’s their decision and we respect it either way.”

ussoccer.com: Denmark is at the top of their group ahead of Portugal in qualifying for the European Championship. What kind of game can we expect against Denmark?

JK: “Denmark is on the rise. They obviously didn’t qualify for the World Cup, and now they are leading their European qualifying group ahead of Portugal and I think that says it all. It’s a very, very good team. They are very good individual players who are in the Premier League, in the Bundesliga, in Serie A in Italy. You find their players all over the place, and therefore we have a lot of respect for them. I think they have respect for us too, because they watched the World Cup as well and they know that we’re not coming there to be just friendly. We’re coming there to give them a fight. It will give us a good benchmark. It will give us a very, very good game and a lot of answers to many things that we want to see.”

ussoccer.com: Switzerland is ranked No. 12 in the world and had 13 players in the Champions League this year. What kind of test will this be?

JK: “When you look at Switzerland, you first look at their individual players and where they play, and it’s Champions League for most of them. That tells you everything. They are in the top 15 in the world and they did well in the World Cup in Brazil, so for us it’s a great benchmark. It’s a great way to learn and to improve and to measure ourselves.”

Q&A - Jurgen Klinsmann: "We Can’t Wait to Get These Games Going"

U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann recently sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss a broad range of topics ahead of the USA's upcoming European friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland. The U.S. boss touched on the kick-off of the 2015 MLS season, tracking players in Europe and Mexico, plus, guiding youth players toward the Senior National Team.

ussoccer.com: What have been the scouting priorities for the staff since the team’s last gathering?

JK:  “Really our priority in terms of scouting has been to look all over the place and see as many games as possible. In Europe, we are looking at the players playing in Germany, in Holland with Rubio Rubin and Aron Johannsson, going down to Mexico and seeing the players there who are involved in a very busy schedule right now  having started very early in the year, and obviously we are thrilled getting the ball rolling in MLS.”

ussoccer.com: The Bundesliga-based players are earning consistent playing time, particularly John Brooks and Timmy Chandler. What have you seen from those players?

JK: “It’s great to see John Brooks playing week in and week out and consistently being a starter. He’s getting very good reviews over there. Matthias Hamann, Andi Herzog and Berti Vogts are all looking after our players in Germany and have seen a lot of good stuff. Timmy Chandler after the World Cup was struggling a bit to get his starting spot, and now he is always in the starting lineup. He’s playing consistently on a good level, so that is very promising. It’s a pity seeing a few players injured in the German environment, if it’s Terrence Boyd, Joe Gyau, and Bobby Wood. They are having a tough time getting through their injuries now. Overall, the news out of Germany is very good.”

MNT left back Timmy Chandler battles the Republic of Ireland's Cyrus Christie in the USA's final match of 2014.

ussoccer.com: Aron Johannsson is a player we haven’t seen since the World Cup. He’s back from injury and getting minutes. How have you followed his progress?

JK: “We had Aron Johannsson watched by Andi Herzog. We are glad to see Aron back in the mix and getting his games, even if it’s not always as a starter yet. He had a rough time after the World Cup with injuries. It took him a long time to get back in the picture, but once he gets back on the field he’s always smelling the goal and scoring. That’s what a goalscorer is all about – he has to prove his point by putting the ball in the net. That’s what Aron is doing. We are looking forward to having him back in our group.”

ussoccer.com: What have been your impressions of the start of the MLS season?

JK: “As a start, it was a huge opening weekend for MLS. It was awesome to see full stadiums all over the place. It’s been very exciting to go from game to game and seeing our players in action, whether it was Jozy Altidore scoring two goals or Clint Dempsey scoring two goals in Seattle, Nick Rimando playing well, and then new teams in the league. Seeing Brek Shea at left back in Orlando City, where we tried him out in the January camp is pretty exciting. Having players like Kaka and David Villa in the United States is awesome. It’s been an exciting start to MLS and for all soccer fans in the country, and we are looking forward to the upcoming games.”

ussoccer.com: Jozy Altidore scored twice in his debut. How important is it for Jozy’s confidence to hit the ground running?

JK: “Seeing Jozy Altidore getting on the scoring side of it right away was very important. He had a tough time the last 18 months in the Premier League, and for him it’s an awesome feeling to start right away with two goals. We all know what Jozy can do when he’s healthy and fit. Hopefully he’s off to a fantastic season. It’s also great seeing Clint get going from the start, and Mix Diskerud with New York City Football Club scoring the first goal for that new franchise is exciting. It’s a lot of promising stuff.” 

ussoccer.com: Brek Shea is getting a reboot to his career in Orlando. They are also using him as a left back. Is it a position where you see him having continued potential?

JK: “Brek Shea has the potential to become a very, very strong left back. He’s obviously a guy that always wants to go forward. He can score goals. He can create goals. If he learns the defending side of the game – being very physical, very focused, being connected to his center back and holding a line, getting all the tactical elements for what it takes to be a good defender - it adds that card into his portfolio and the coach from Orlando can choose where to play him, we can choose where to play him, it’s just great to see. We started that process in the January camp and Orlando took it over. We stay in touch with each other. It can only get better.”


MNT defender Brek Shea scored the USA's opening goal of 2015 in a January friendly against Chile in Rancagua. 

ussoccer.com: What type of roster will you bring to Denmark and Switzerland?

JK: “We are going to bring in a very strong roster into Denmark and Switzerland. It’s a bit tricky obviously because MLS has just started and it’s early in the season, so those players don’t have a rhythm yet. Meanwhile, the European-based players are in a full rhythm and the Mexican-based players are in a full rhythm, so we will bring what we believe will be the strongest roster into these two friendlies. It will be an interesting mix. We are there to learn, to play against very good opponents, but also to get results.”

ussoccer.com: During the upcoming window, the Senior Team will play two matches; the U-23s will play two matches against Bosnia and Denmark, and the U-20s are in London for a pair of games. These are important opportunities for the Youth National Teams, and at the same time, you are preparing for the Gold Cup. How do you go about balancing the rosters?

JK: “It’s getting really exciting because 2015 really kicks off now. MLS is in full swing starting their schedule, and with the FIFA fixture dates coming up, we get the opportunity to play the Senior Team, and at the same time, to build the U-23s and the U-20s have to prepare for the World Cup this summer.

“It’s exciting for us coaches to see who could play where. Is there a younger one maybe coming with me to Denmark and Switzerland, or is he going with Andi Herzog to be with the U-23s in Bosnia and Denmark, or do we keep an 18-year-old player with Tab because he is going to go to the World Cup this summer. We will juggle these things and we will balance it out. At the end of the day, the priority is always the Senior Team in order to be the strongest team possible, but at the same time it’s great for us coaches to see everybody competing for his spot and his future opportunities.

“For the youngsters to look towards the U-20 World Cup is huge. For the U-23s, we have to get them going in order to prepare for the qualifiers later this year towards the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Andi Herzog has his hands full with that group. For me and the Senior Team perspective, I’m looking at all these youngsters and thinking who can come through these periods and develop the fastest possible in order to make himself a strong competitor for the senior group. So this is a great time now, and we can’t wait to get these games going at the end of the month.”

ussoccer.com: The U-17s just qualified for the 2015 FIFA World Cup, and did so after fighting through some adversity. As you have talked about, at that age level, it’s not just about winning but also about experience. How important are experiences like that for player development?

JK: Having the U-17s being in Honduras trying to qualify for the World Cup and go through that stuff is priceless. It’s so important for them to deal with different conditions, to deal with emotions, to deal with difficult moments in a game where they have to solve it, to deal with fatigue and climate. It is only making them better. Having them go through these challenges is very important, because that’s what they have to learn for their future. It’s only going to get more difficult the older they grow. It’s the same for our U20s going into the World Cup this summer. You face very difficult opponents and you reach your limits. These experiences for the younger age groups are critical, which is why having these games on the FIFA fixture dates and getting them involved is so important. They need these opportunities to grow and to make it to the highest level possible in their career.”

MNT Players in Club Action Across the Globe and the Airwaves this Weekend

With the USMNT’s March friendlies against Denmark (March 25, ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMás, UDN) and Switzerland (March 31, FOX Sports 1, UniMás, UDN) quickly approaching, time is running out for the players to convince the coaching staff they should be included for the matches that start the honing process for the all-important 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer. The staff will have plenty of opportunity to watch the player pool in action this weekend – and so will fans!

Check out all the MNT players in action with their clubs across the globe (All TV times ET):

FRIDAY
The spotlight is on the kickoff of the 20th season of Major League Soccer when the 2014 defending champion LA Galaxy hosts the Chicago Fire. World Cup vet Omar Gonzalez stands at one end with MNT neophyte Gyassi Zardes as the pair stare down Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson at the other. (10 p.m., UniMas)

SATURDAY
The FA Cup quarterfinals kick off with a trip to famed Wembley Stadium on offer in one of the oldest and most prestigious cup competitions in the world. Brad Guzan and Aston Villa host West Bromwich Albion in the first leg (12:30 p.m., FOX Soccer Plus). In another final eight matchup, Reading midfielder Danny Williams continues his resurgence as the Royals head to League One side Bradford City (7:45 a.m., FS1). In the only Premier League match of the weekend, DeAndre Yedlin’s Spurs travel to QPR with a huge opportunity to pick up points in the race to reach European competition next season (10 a.m., NBCSN).

In Germany, Fabian Johnson is fresh off scoring his first goal of the campaign and Borussia Moenchengladbach travel to Mainz looking to keep their hold on third place in the Bundesliga table (12:30 p.m., GolTV).

South of the border, Club Tijuana look to maintain their lead at the top of the Liga MX Torneo Clausura after going 6-1-1 in the first eight matches. Joe Corona hopes to continue to earn minutes after recovering from injury, while Greg Garza will be kept out as a precaution after a minor hip injury on the weekend. Meantime, defender Michael Orozco has started all eight games for Puebla and has helped his side to fourth place as they travel to Chiapas (10 p.m., UDN).

MLS has a host of matches available on DIRECT KICK/MLS LIVE, led by the debut of Jozy Altidore alongside MNT compatriot Michael Bradley at Toronto FC when they square off against cross-coast Canadian rivals Vancouver Whitecaps (6 p.m.). Check local listings for the full MLS schedule.

SUNDAY
Last things first – the U.S. Under-17 MNT has a chance to book their ticket to the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Currently sporting a 3-0-0 record at the top of Group A in CONCACAF Qualifying, a win against host Honduras would guarantee advancement to this fall’s tournament in Chile (FOX Soccer Plus, 10 p.m.).

The big draw will be the debut of the newest additions to MLS, with 60,000 plus packing the Citrus Bowl to watch Orlando City FC hosts NYCFC. Brek Shea is hoping for a jumpstart to his career wearing the purple of the Lions, while Mix Diskerud kicks off his domestic professional career with the Big Apple’s newest MLS entrant NYCFC (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, 5 p.m.). Matt Besler will marshal the backline and Graham Zusi appears to be ready to go when Sporting Kansas City hosts the new look New York Red Bulls (FS1, 7 p.m.), while MLS Cup finalists New England Revolution will be without their MNT contingent in Seattle as Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen are still sidelined for the opener against U.S. captain Clint Dempsey, MNT defender Brad Evans and Sounders FC (FS1, FOX Deportes, 9:30 p.m.). 

WHAT ELSE TO CHECK OUT …
Alejandro Bedoya returns from the infirmary to join his Nantes teammates when they meet Stade de Reims, who hover three points above the relegation zone … Jonathan Spector’s Birmingham City side have surpassed their point total from last season, and hope to climb into the top half of the table against Midlands rival Derby …  It could be young versus younger in Holland when Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar travel to face Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht on Sunday … Finally, Eintracht Frankfurt’s starting right back Timmy Chandler gets an early look at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne, which will host USA-Germany on June 5. 

Former World Cup Champion Berti Vogts Appointed U.S. MNT Technical Advisor

CHICAGO (March 26, 2014) – U.S. Soccer has appointed former World Cup winner Berti Vogts to be a Technical Advisor to the U.S. Men’s National Team.

A member of the German team that won the 1974 FIFA World Cup, Vogts brings a tremendous track record of success to the Men’s National Team. Additionally, he coached the German squad to the 1996 European Championship – on which U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was team captain – and is one of only three coaches to lead Germany to a trophy in the last 25 years.

“We had a fantastic experience with Berti during the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” said Klinsmann. “His knowledge and experience is a tremendous asset for us. With Andi Herzog having a big focus on qualifying the U-23 team for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Berti will make an even more important contribution.”

In his role as Technical Advisor, Vogts will oversee the development of players in Europe, working with Herzog and Matthias Hamann on scouting, building and improving club relationships and identifying talent. Vogts will serve as a resource for technical development initiatives and coaching education. 

Vogts earned 96 caps for Germany, playing a total of 19 matches in three World Cups. Nicknamed “Der Terrier,” he famously marked Dutch legend Johan Cruyff in the 1974 World Cup final that Germany won 2-1 in Munich. He served as team captain from 1977-79, taking over for Franz Beckenbauer.

During a 14-year professional career in which he was twice named Germany Footballer of the Year, Vogts was an integral part of the Borussia Moenchengladbach squad that won five Bundesliga titles (1969–70, 1970–71, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77) and two UEFA Cups (1974–75, 1978–79).

Vogts coached Germany from 1990-98, compiling a record of 66-12-24. In addition to the title in 1996, he had a second-place finish in the 1992 European Championship and led the Germans to the quarterfinals in consecutive World Cups in 1994 and 1998.

Having coached the national teams of Scotland (2002-04) and Nigeria (2007-08), he served as the manager for Azerbaijan from April of 2008 to the end of 2014.

Quote Sheet: Klinsmann, Johannsson, Altidore, Bradley and Alvarado on Denmark

MNT head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN:

On tonight’s game:
“I think overall this was a very even and entertaining game. I think we gave them an eye-to-eye game and we could have won it, but we didn’t. We saw a lot of good things that we wanted to see on our end. Obviously, we’ve got to correct a couple things because we conceded three goals, and overall it’s just a little bit frustrating when you lose in the last minute.”

On what he liked and disliked from tonight’s game:
“Obviously, what you don’t like is late goals. Maybe it’s just losing focus for a second, losing your mark or because of heavy legs getting tired a little bit. You never want to give a game away that you’re up 2-1. I think a tie probably would have been a fair result, but as I said a lot of positives. I think the backline overall did a very good job. From the left to the right, they were all on top of things as much as they could be. I think Michael Bradley was present in the midfield trying to organize a lot. You’re always happy for your strikers when they score. You hope then for a third one if there’s an opportunity and we had it with John Brooks’ header in the last second. There’s a lot of good stuff taken away from this game, definitely. We have to step it up in terms of managing the game all 90 minutes. You lead in Denmark 2-1? Get the job done and go home with three points. At least tie it. That’s all the stuff to improve, but overall we did a lot of good stuff.”

On the struggle to maintain possession in the first half and how they planned to fix it at half:
“We knew that Denmark is a very good possession-oriented team. That’s part of their style that Morten Olsen developed over many, many years here, and they do it really well with their technical capabilities. They move off of the ball really well. So what we had problems with the first half was to get pressure on the ball, to get closer to them in midfield and shut them down in terms of their passing lanes and the space that they find. I think it was a little bit better in the second half. We got closer to them. We denied them those little passes between the lines and that’s stuff we’re going to have to deal with and do better.”

On bringing in Ventura Alvarado for his first cap in place of Michael Orozco:
Michael Orozco was giving us a signal that he was just simply exhausted and that led to Ventura’s first cap, which was something special for him.”

On Denmark’s captain and playmaker Christian Eriksen:
“I said yesterday to the media here that he obviously is a huge talent. He’s fun to watch and at a young age already taking over so much responsibility on the field, leading his team and keeping the rhythm going. It’s really fun to watch him, so it will be interesting to see how he continues his career.”

On Nicklas Bendtner’s performance:
If you make three goals then you get all the compliments in the world, and he deserves them for that performance absolutely.”

MNT forward ARON JOHANNSSON

On his goal:
“Michael Bradley played Jozy [Altidore] a fantastic ball in the box, and Jozy showed he’s a very good team player; he played it to me, and I was the one against an open goal.”

On his return to Aarhus, where he played professionally for AGF Aarhus:
“It was amazing. It was a great experience to come back to the stadium where my career kicked off. It was good to be back, but on the other hand we lost the game, so I’m pretty disappointed right now. I felt like we could’ve gotten something from the game so this is pretty disappointing.”

On what to take moving forward to the Switzerland game next Tuesday:
“Obviously today we had a lot of positives, and now we have to look at those positives and learn from them and make sure that we’re winning games in the final period of the game and make sure that we don’t lose games in the last couple of minutes.”

On the warm reception he received from the Denmark crowd:
“Obviously it’s great for me that they still know my name back here and they still cheer for me. It’s a great city and I’m very happy to be back, but on the other hand, the result kind of killed it.”

MNT forward JOZY ALTIDORE

On scoring his goal:
“It was a great ball from Timmy [Chandler]. It looked like the defenders were confused a little bit, and I just tried to kind of stay with the play. Then, I tried to hit it first time and get it on target and it went in.”

On losing a game where the team twice had the lead:
“Yeah it’s annoying because it seems to be a trend over the last five or six games and it’s just not good enough at this level. Too many lapses at critical points in the game, and maybe it’s a little bit of lack of experience as well, but it’s something we’ll have to cut out getting closer now to a competition in the Gold Cup. We need to get better.”

On the cold, damp playing conditions:
“Yeah it was weird, it was a cold one. It was a typical spring day; it was cold and wet. But look, everybody at this level has experienced extreme temperature, so it’s no excuse.”

On preparing for Switzerland:
“Switzerland’s another tough game.  It’s another good opponent. It’s another opportunity for us to work on things, but we have to take these chances seriously now, because there’s not many left until we start a competition and that’s where it counts.”

MNT midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY

On playing his first game as captain:
“It was a tremendous honor. Obviously Clint’s [Dempsey] the captain and he’s done an incredible job, but for me to have the opportunity to be captain on the night that he’s not here was very special and not something that I’ll soon forget. Growing up you dream for these kind of nights, so it was very special.”

On the frustration of losing another game late:
“It’s very frustrating. We knew it was going to be a difficult night with the conditions; the field’s not great, it’s wet, windy, and we knew it was going to be a game where more balls were going to get played forward and  it was going to be about moving our lines and getting to second balls. I thought we handled things for the most part pretty well, but if you don’t see the game out, if you don’t take care of things in the last few minutes then you’re not going to ever get what you deserve. I think the frustrating thing is that it’s not the first time that that’s happened to us, where we’ve not been able to see a game out and we’ve got to start to learn our lesson.”

On preparing for Switzerland:
“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ll get back to Zurich tomorrow and physically start to recover and get ourselves mentally right. Obviously it’s another big chance to step on the field against a good team.”

MNT defender VENTURA ALVARADO

On earning his first cap:
“I’m real happy and proud to be here and motivated to keep working and getting more minutes. I’m going to remember this, and it’s going to be a good memory. We lost, but it’s alright, we just need to keep working.”

MNT Upended by Nicklas Bendtner Hat Trick in 3-2 Loss to Denmark

AARHUS, Denmark (March 25, 2015) – Jozy Altidore tallied his 27th goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team and added an assist on Aron Johannsson’s third career tally, but it was not enough to offset Nicklas Bendtner’s hat trick in a 3-2 loss to Denmark on Wednesday at NRGi Park.

The USA now returns to Zurich, where it will continue training camp ahead of next week’s match against Switzerland. The U.S. MNT will play its second consecutive road match in Europe on March 31 at 12 p.m. ET live on Fox Sports 1, UniMás and UDN.

The USA twice took the lead in each half first through Altidore and then Johannsson. Denmark responded on each occasion through Bendtner, who eventually scored the game winner in the 91st minute.

The USA had a chance to equalize in the game’s final moments when midfielder Michael Bradley whipped a beautiful cross into the box, but John Brooks guided his header just wide in the last action of the match.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Jozy Altidore (Timmy Chandler), 19th minute:
Timmy Chandler played a one-two passing combination with Altidore, launching the ball to the far post from the right side. Altidore outmuscled his defender and blasted in a half-volley at the near post with his left foot. It was Chandler’s first assist for the USA. USA 1, DEN 0 (SEE GOAL)

DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Lasse Vibe), 33rd minute: After a long build up, the ball ended up with Denmark’s Daniel Wass. He flashed a cross toward Rimando, where it was backheeled by Lass Vibe into the path of Bendtner, who easily tapped it home from close range. USA 1, DEN 1 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Aron Johannsson (Jozy Altidore), 66th minute: Michael Bradley dropped an exquisite long ball into the Denmark box to a streaking Altidore. The U.S. striker took a beautiful first touch to cushion the pass and draw the attention of Denmark goalkeeper Stephan Andersen before, poking the ball to Johannsson, who tapped home into the vacated goal well with smart first touch and a defender on his back. USA 2, DEN 1 (SEE GOAL)

DEN – Nicklas Bendtner, 83rd minute: A chip from Martin Braithwaite on the left side was deflected and looped toward the far post of the U.S. goal. Denmark’s Lasse Schöne and the USA’s Timmy Chandler challenged for the deflected ball, which ultimately fell to Bendtner, who lashed a first-time volley low past screened U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando. USA 2 DEN 2 (SEE GOAL)

DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Christian Eriksen), 90+1 minute: A Nick Rimando goal kick was allowed to bounce around the midfield stripe and Denmark won the second ball, moving it to Eriksen wide in the left channel. The Denmark captain directed a long ball over the top to Bendtner, who cradled the pass with a fluid first touch before smacking a low shot past Rimando into the far side netting from 16 yards out. USA 2, DEN 3 (SEE GOAL) FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Nick Rimando (Save) 16th minute:
Denmark curled in a cross from the left channel to the far post which just skipped by striker Nicklas Bendtner, before Rimando turned it around the post with a diving save.

USA – Nick Rimando & Michael Orozco (Save), 48th minute: A defensive mix-up led to an opening for Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, who snapped a wide open shot from the right side, which Rimando expertly beat away. However, the ball continued to roll toward the U.S. goal before Michael Orozco was able to clear it to safety.

Milestone Watch:

  • Timmy Chandler scored his first career point for the U.S. MNT with his assist in the first half.
  • Jozy Altidore’s first-half goal was the 27th of his career and his second this year. He is three goals behind Brian McBride for fourth on the USA’s all-time scoring list.
  • Ventura Alvarado earned his first cap for the U.S. MNT, entering in the 80th minute to replace Michael Orozco.

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT faces Switzerland at 12 p.m. ET on March 31 in Zurich.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1, UniMas, Univision Deportes Network
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer@ussoccer_esp); FacebookInstagram

Additional Notes:

  • Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, making his first start as captain for the USA, were the only two players to feature for the MNT during the last time it faced Denmark in this stadium in 2009.
  • Nick Rimando made his first appearance and start in Europe for the USA.
  • Greg Garza has now started four of the last six matches for which he was available.
  • The two at the top of the USA’s 4-4-2 were Altidore and Johannsson, who were previously teammates at AZ Alkmaar. Altidore assisted on Johannsson’s goal in the 68th minute.
  • Before the match, the Denmark crowd gave Aron Johannsson, who had played at NRGi park before as a member of the Danish club AGF Aarhus, a warm reception when his name was called. It was his first start since 2013, and his first appearance since entering for Jozy Altidore in the 2-1 win against Ghana in the USA’s opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

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

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Denmark
Date: March 25, 2015
Tournament: International Friendly
Venue: NRGi Park; Aarhus, Denmark
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Attendance: 10,505
Weather: 41 degrees; Cloudy 

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            1          1          2
DEN                            1          2          3 

USA – Jozy Altidore (Timmy Chandler)         19th minute
DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Lasse Vibe)           33
USA – Aron Johannsson (Jozy Altidore)        66
DEN – Nicklas Bendtner                                83
DEN – Nicklas Bendtner (Christian Eriksen) 90+1

Lineups:
USA: 1-Nick Rimando; 21-Timmy Chandler, 15-Michael Orozco (19-Ventura Alvarado, 80), 6-John Brooks, 3-Greg Garza; 20-Gyasi Zardes (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 67) 11-Alejandro Bedoya (7-Alfredo Morales, 46), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson (13-Brek Shea, 46); 17-Jozy Altidore, 9-Aron Johannsson (18-Rubio Rubin, 67)
Subs not used: 5-Tim Ream, 10-Miguel Ibarra, 14-Danny Williams, 16-Julian Green, 22-Williams Yarbrough
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

DEN: 16-Stephan Andersen; 2-Daniel Wass, 3-Simon Kjar, 4-Erik Sviatchenko, 5-Nicolai Bollesen (17-Simon Busk Poulsen, 53); 7-William Kvist (23-Anders Christiansen, 46), 18-Jakob Poulsen (19-Thomas Delaney, 46), 21-Lasse Vibe (8-Martin Braithwaite, 74), 10-Christian Eriksen (capt.); 9-Michael Krohn-Dehli (14-Lasse Schöne, 78), 11-Nicklas Bendtner
Subs not used: 1-Kasper Schmeichel, 6-Las Jacobsen, 12-Mathias Zanka Jorgensen, 13-Kian H. Hansen, 22-Jonas Lössl
Head Coach: Morten Olsen
 

Stats Summary: USA / DEN
Shots: 4 / 12
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 17 / 13
Offside: 1 / 0 

Misconduct Summary:
DEN – William Kvist (caution)                    25th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution)                     78       
USA – Ventura Alvarado (caution)              89

Officials:
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan-Peter Aravirta (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mikko Alakare (FIN)
Fourth Official: Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen (DEN)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore

Hamstring Strain Sidelines U.S. captain Clint Dempsey for Europe Friendlies

CHICAGO (March 24, 2015) – U.S. Men’s National Team captain Clint Dempsey suffered a right hamstring strain during training Monday in Zurich and will not be available for the USA’s upcoming friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland. Dempsey returned to Seattle on Tuesday and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. 

No replacement will be added for the match against Denmark, which kicks off March 25 at 3 p.m. ET. The match at NRGi Park in Aarhus will be broadcast on ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMás, and UDN. Fans can follow all the action from the USA’s Zurich-based training camp on Twitter @ussoccer

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur) 
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Hamburg), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht) 

Six days after the Denmark match, the USA meets No. 12-ranked Switzerland – one of the eight seeded teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup – on March 31 in Zurich (FOXSports 1, UniMás, UDN). In June, the United States takes on two top-five ranked teams, meeting fifth-ranked Netherlands in Amsterdam before facing 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany in Cologne.  

Klinsmann Calls 23 Players for Important Tests against Denmark and Switzerland

CHICAGO (March 22, 2015) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will bring 23 players to Europe for important friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland in preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The U.S. faces Denmark on March 25 in Aarhus in the first meeting between the teams since 2009 (3 p.m. ET - ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMas, UDN). Six days later, the USA meets Switzerland – one of the eight seeded teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup – on March 31 in Zurich (Fox Sports 1, UniMas, UDN).

The matches fall on FIFA fixture dates and come in conjunction with camps for the U-23 Men’s National Team, which will play Bosnia-Herzegovina and Denmark in preparation matches for Olympic qualifying, and the U-20 Men’s National Team that is getting ready for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup this summer in New Zealand.

Denmark sits atop Group I in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship. The teams last met in the same town six years ago, with the Danes collecting a 3-1 victory.

Currently ranked No. 12 in the world, Switzerland boasts 13 players with experience in the current Champions League season. The last match between the U.S. and Switzerland occurred on Oct. 17, 2007 with the USA running out 1-0 winners in Basel.

“This is a really exciting time for our National Teams, because it’s not only our games with the senior team, it’s also the U-23s now playing two friendlies and the U-20s playing a friendly with England,” said Klinsmann. “From a senior team perspective, we have a very competitive roster. It’s a great opportunity to look at our many players based in Europe and Mexico while the MLS players are still getting into a rhythm. We are here to challenge ourselves against two strong opponents, and at the end of the day we also want to get results.”

The roster is heavy on U.S. players based in Europe in Mexico with a total of 16 players on the roster plying their trade outside the United States. Six players, including team captain Clint Dempsey, hail from MLS, while Miguel Ibarra represents the NASL. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan has been left off the roster while he and his wife await the birth of their first child.

Two players based in Mexico – defender Ventura Alvarado from Club America and goalkeeper William Yarbrough from Club Leon – are making their first appearance in a U.S. National Team camp. Meantime, AZ Alkmaar forward Aron Johannsson returns for the first time since the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Reading midfielder Danny Williams is back after more than a year.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon) 
DEFENDERS (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Hamburg), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) 
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht)

ROSTER NOTES  

  • A total of 11 players on the roster were members of the 2014 FIFA World Cup roster that traveled to Brazil and helped the USA advance out of the “Group of Death,” including three goalscorers.
  • Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley were the only two players who started in all four matches for the USA during the World Cup.
  • Dempsey is the leading capwinner on the roster with 112 appearances. Bradley is next in line to reach the century mark, having played 93 games.
  • Bradley’s first career goal proved the game-winner in the 1-0 win against Switzerland on Oct.17, 2007, in Basel.
  • Seven countries and nine leagues are represented on the roster: Canada, England, France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, and the United States
  • Jozy Altidore, Bradley, Dempsey and Brek Shea are the goalscorers for the U.S. in 2015.  Dempsey has three goals from the first two matches of the MLS season, while Altidore netted a pair in his first match for Toronto FC.
  • Rimando boasts an impressive 10-1-2 career record with four shutouts.
  • Greg Garza started the last five games of 2014 following the World Cup. The Club Tijuana left back has been a part of every level of National Team programming, beginning with the U-14s.
  • Aron Johannsson has the chance to make his first appearance since replacing Jozy Altidore in the first half of the USA’s 2-1 win against Ghana in their opening match of the World Cup in Brazil. He has been hampered by injuries since then and is fighting his way back into the lineup at AZ.
  • Miguel Ibarra, who earned his first caps for the U.S. team in 2014, is the reigning MVP of the NASL.
  • Danny Williams also has the opportunity to get his first action since March 5, 2014, when he started against Ukraine in Cyprus.
  • Rubio Rubin is the only age-eligible player on the roster for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The F.C. Utrecht forward, who scored on the weekend, earned his first senior team cap and start on Nov. 11, 2014, against then No. 3-ranked Colombia.
  • William Yarbrough, 26, was born and raised in Mexico to two American parents. He has marshaled the backline for Club Leon to the 2013 Apertura and 2014 Clausura titles.

MNT Grouped with Panama, Haiti and Honduras/French Guiana Playoff Winner for 2015 Gold Cup

CHICAGO (March 12, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will begin its title defense and open Group A action of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup against the winner of the Honduras/French Guiana playoff on Tuesday, July 7, at 9:30 p.m. ET, at Toyota Park in Frisco, Texas.

The winner of the two-game playoff between Honduras and French Guiana will be determined after the two teams face each other on March 25 and 29.

Following the tournament’s opening match on July 7, the U.S. will go on to play Haiti on Friday, July 10, at 8:30 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Three days later, it will wrap up group play against Panama on Monday, July 13, at 8:30 p.m. CT at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

As defending champion from the 2013 event, a win this summer would guarantee the United States as the CONCACAF representative in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. Otherwise, the U.S. would face the 2015 winner in a playoff. The format and schedule will be announced in the future.

“Right away it puts you on your toes and you have to start the competition focused, concentrated and determined from the first game on,” said USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “Having Panama in there – who we played the final against in the last Gold Cup – and most likely Honduras are very strong teams. We also have a close look at Haiti. We badly want to win this tournament because we want to qualify for Russia 2017. This is huge to us. The best way to do this is to win this summer so we avoid a playoff game in October.”

U.S. MNT’s 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Schedule

Date

Opponent

Time (Local/ET)

Venue

July 7

Honduras/French Guiana

8:30 p.m./9:30 p.m.

Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas

July 10

Haiti

8:30 p.m.

Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Mass.

July 13

Panama

8:30 p.m./9:30 p.m.

Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.

A total of 13 North American cities will host matches throughout the event – Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Toronto.

If the U.S. advances out of the group stage in first or second place, its quarterfinal match would take place on Saturday, July 18, at either 5 or 8 p.m. ET, at M&T Bank Field in Baltimore, Maryland. A third-place finish would see the United States at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, July 19, at 4:30 p.m. ET. The semifinals will take place on Wednesday, July 22 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The third place match and final will be held in Philadelphia, with the third place game taking place on Saturday, July 25, at 4 p.m. ET at PPL Park, and the Gold Cup Final on Sunday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field.

The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup will run from July 7-26, with the 12 participating nations divided into three groups. Group B consists of Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Jamaica, while Group C is made up of Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago. The top two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals, along with the two of the three third-place finishers.

Additional Notes:

  • The U.S. has won the CONCACAF Gold Cup five times, second behind Mexico’s six titles.
  • The U.S. has reached the final in the past five competitions.
  • The U.S. has an all-time record of 5-6-5 against Haiti, with 22 goals scored and 19 goals against. Of their 16 games, 13 took place from 1954-1983. In the three most recent games against Haiti (2000, 2004, 2009), the MNT holds a 1-0-2 record.
  • The last time the USA faced Haiti, a 2-2 draw, the teams also met at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
  • The MNT has faced Panama in the knockout phase of the last five Gold Cups, including twice in the final. On July 28, 2013, a goal by Brek Shea lifted the U.S. to a 1-0 victory in the championship match. Panama holds the distinction of handing the U.S. its only defeat in Gold Cup group play, a 2-1 loss on June 11, 2011, in Tampa, Florida. A total of 13 of the 15 meetings between the two teams have come in either the CONCACAF Gold Cup or FIFA World Cup Qualifying. In those games, the U.S. holds a 10-1-2 record.
  • The U.S. and Haiti have not faced each other since the 2009 Gold Cup when both teams were placed into Group B and played on July 11 in Foxborough. After an early goal from Davy Arnaud gave the U.S. the 1-0 lead, the U.S. fell behind 2-1 early in the second half. However, Stuart Holden was able to score the equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time to allow the USA to clinch first place in the group with a 2-2 draw and advance to the quarterfinals . Their only other matchup in a Gold Cup came on Feb. 12, 2000, in Miami. The USA won the group stage game 3-0 with goals from Cobi Jones, Eric Wynalda and Jovan Kirovski. 
  • Against Honduras, the U.S. holds a 14-4-4 record and the two sides have faced each other six times in CONCACAF Gold Cup play. In those games, the U.S. holds a dominant 5-0-1 record. The last Gold Cup matchup came on July 24, 2013, when the MNT defeated Honduras 3-1 in the semifinal behind two goals from Landon Donovan and one from Eddie Johnson to advance to the title game against Panama. Most recently, both sides met in Boca Raton, Florida, on Oct. 14, 2014. Jozy Altidore was the sole scorer for the U.S. during the 1-1 draw.
  • The United States and French Guiana have never faced each other.

Lewis, Roberts and Sahaydak Visit Indonesia as U.S. Soccer Sport Envoys


CHICAGO (March 12, 2015) – Former U.S. Men’s National Team and U.S. Women’s National Team defenders Eddie Lewis and Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak traveled to Indonesia as members of the U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy Program.

The program runs through March 18 and will consist of clinics and talks with sports journalists, coaches and players across the Indonesian cities of Jakarta, Serang and Solo. Before each clinic, Envoys will address the participants and speak about the connection between team sports and life skills, as well as the importance of physical activity for boys and girls.

Roberts Sahaydak is currently the head coach at the University of Central Florida. She earned 110 caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team between 1994-2003, winning the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games and the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Roberts Sahaydak was also a member of the third-place U.S. team at the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Norway. She is a veteran of the Sports Envoy program, having visited several countries since 2007.

Lewis and Roberts Sahaydak will be joined by Tim Sahaydak, who played for the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team and is currently the associate head coach at UCF. It is the first Sports Envoy trip for both Sahaydak and Lewis.

Also a two-time FIFA World Cup veteran, Lewis earned 82 caps and scored 10 goals for the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1996-2008. Lewis was a part of the team that won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2002, before heading to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan. He is widely renowned for assisting on Landon Donovan’s goal in the 2-0 win against Mexico on June 17, 2002.

In partnership with the U.S. State Department, U.S. Soccer players, coaches and administrators have visited more than 79 countries since 2005. The athletes have offered soccer clinics for thousands of boys, girls and coaches. Athletes and coaches use sport as a tool to teach important values and life skills such as respect, teamwork, inclusion, acknowledgement of rules, discipline, and self-confidence.

Sanneh, Hamilton Travel to Malaysia as U.S. Soccer Sports Envoys


CHICAGO (March 9, 2015) – Former U.S. Men’s National Team and U.S. Women’s National Team defenders Tony Sanneh and Linda Hamilton, respectively, will travel to Malaysia as members of the U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy Program.

As part of the program, which runs from March 9-13, Sanneh and Hamilton will conduct clinics with more than 250 children and coaches in three cities—Kota Bharu, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu—around Malaysia.

Hamilton will conduct two clinics with school children in Kuala Lumpur on Monday before being joined by Sanneh on Tuesday, March 10. That day, both will conduct a clinic with 30 soccer coaches from local schools in the morning, followed by a clinic with about 50 high school and university students in the afternoon.

Over the course of the remaining three days, Hamilton and Sanneh will conduct five more clinics, with students ranging from age 7-20.

Sanneh was a member of the 2002 FIFA World Cup team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament and was recently named to the U.S. Men’s National Team “All-Decade Team.” Hamilton is no stranger to traveling to Asia, having been part of the U.S. backline at the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She earned 71 caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1987-1995. Both have traveled extensively as Sports Envoys for U.S. Soccer and the State Department.

In partnership with the State Department, U.S. Soccer players, coaches and administrators have visited more than 79 countries since 2005. The athletes have offered soccer clinics for thousands of boys, girls and coaches. Athletes and coaches use sport as a tool to teach important values and life skills such as respect, teamwork, inclusion, acknowledgement of rules, discipline, and self-confidence.

National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Nominees Announced

CHICAGO (Feb. 26, 2015) – Ballots have been finalized for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2015 elections, and voting will begin immediately for the Player, Veteran Player and Builder categories. Voting will continue through Friday, March 20, and the election results will be announced shortly after. Induction ceremony details for the Class of 2015 will be announced at a later date.

Players in their first year of eligibility include the following: two-time FIFA World Cup participant and current Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter; 13-year MLS veteran Jimmy Conrad; 13-year MNT fixture and MLS Cup champion Frankie Hejduk; 2008 Olympic gold medalist Natasha Kai; four-time FIFA World Cup participant and three-time CONCACAF Gold Cup Champion Kasey Keller; 10-year MNT veteran and current LA Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski; 1996 Olympic gold medalist and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Tiffeny Milbrett; two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Pat Onstad; three-time MLS Cup champion Eddie Robinson; Colombian MLS star Diego Serna; two-time Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Tarpley; 15-year veteran and two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Zach Thornton; and six-year WNT forward Christie Welsh.

Of the 31 players on the Player ballot, Robin Fraser and Shannon MacMillan are in their final year of eligibility.

In order to be eligible for election as a Player, an individual must be retired for at least three years, but for no more than 10 years, and have either: 1) Played in at least 20 international games for the U.S., or 2) Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and named to a postseason All-League or All-Star team at least once.

The voting pool includes all past and present full Men's and Women's National Team coaches, all active MLS and NWSL head coaches with a minimum of four years of experience as a head coach at the highest level in the United States, MLS and NWSL management representatives, the MLS and NWSL Commissioners, U.S. Soccer CEO/Secretary General, U.S. Soccer President, designated media members, and all Hall of Famers.

Each voter can list up to 10 candidates per ballot. Any player appearing on at least 66.7 percent of ballots will earn election, while any player who does not appear on at least five percent of ballots will be removed from voting contention until they qualify for the Veteran ballot.

2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot

Chris Armas
Gregg Berhalter*
Jimmy Conrad*
Robin Fraser**
Frankie Hejduk*
Chris Henderson
Natasha Kai*
Kasey Keller*
Jovan Kirovski*
Chris Klein
Jason Kreis
Eddie Lewis
Shannon MacMillan**
Clint Mathis
Tiffeny Milbrett*
Jaime Moreno
John O’Brien
Ben Olsen
Pat Onstad*
Steve Ralston
Ante Razov
Tiffany Roberts
Eddie Robinson*
Tony Sanneh
Briana Scurry
Diego Serna*
Kate Sobrero Markgraf
Lindsay Tarpley*
Taylor Twellman
Christie Welsh*
Zach Thornton*

* First year of eligibility
** Final year of eligibility; moves to Veteran ballot in 2016

In addition to the Player ballot, voting is also set to begin for the Veteran Player and Builder ballots. Nine players are up for selection on the Veteran ballot, which is voted on only by current Hall of Famers after the list has been narrowed down by a screening committee.

Voters can name up to five Veteran candidates, and the top vote-getter will be elected as long as he or she appears on a minimum of 50 percent of the ballots. If no individual appears on 50 percent of the ballots, then no Veteran will be elected to the 2015 Class. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.

In order to be eligible for election as a Veteran, an individual must be retired for more than 10 years, and have either: 1) Played in at least 20 international games for the U.S. This requirement is reduced to 10 games if the games were prior to 1990, or 2) Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and named to a postseason All-League or All-Star team at least once. or 3) Played at least five seasons in the MISL between 1984 and the end of the league in 1992, and been selected as a first-team postseason All-Star in at least one of those seasons.

2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Veteran Ballot

Mike Burns
John Doyle
Marco Etcheverry
Linda Hamilton
Mary Harvey
Shep Messing
Glenn Myernick
Cindy Parlow
Tisha Venturini-Hoch

  • Eligible Veteran Bios
  • The 2015 Builder ballot includes nine individuals selected by a screening committee and follows the same procedures for election as the Veteran ballot, although the voting pool is expanded to also include select soccer administrators.

    Builders must be at least 50 years old and are eligible by making their mark in the soccer community in a non-playing capacity while sustaining a major and positive impact on American Soccer at the national federation or first-division level for at least 10 years. Referees must serve as a FIFA referee for at least seven years to be eligible (although a referee who has less than seven years as a FIFA international referee still can qualify for the list via 10 or more years as a United States first-division referee).

    2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Builder Ballot

    Bob Contiguglia
    Don Garber
    Richard Groff
    Robert Kraft
    Tim Lieweke
    Francisco Marcos
    Fritz Marth
    Kevin Payne
    Sigi Schmid

    Complete information about the election and eligibility procedures is available online at ussoccer.com.

    The National Soccer Hall of Fame closed its Oneonta, N.Y., facility in 2010. The election process is being administered by U.S. Soccer Federation staff under election and eligibility guidelines established by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

    Established in 1950, the National Soccer Hall of Fame is dedicated to the sport of soccer in America by celebrating its history, preserving its legacy, inspiring its youth and honoring its heroes for generations to come. 

    U.S. MNT and WNT 2015 Nike Away Kit Debuts This March

    ussoccerstore.com click through

    CHICAGO (Feb. 16, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams have unveiled a bold new away Nike kit that features a stylish gradient design.

    The WNT will introduce the kit when it travels to Portugal for the 2015 Algarve Cup from March 4-11, and the MNT will wear the kit for the first time on March 25 against Denmark.

    Highlights: 91st-Minute Strike Beats MNT in Denmark

    The U.S. Men's National Team fell 3-2 to Denmark in Aarhus, Denmark.

    GOAL - Aron Johannsson Bags USA's Second of the Game

    Aron Johannsson's goal gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead against Denmark. Watch live on ESPN and Univision.

    GOAL - Altidore Blast Gives U.S. Early Lead against Denmark

    Jozy Altidore scored to make it 1-0 vs. Denmark.

    Klinsmann and MNT Face European Test against Denmark

    The U.S. MNT gathered in Zurich for a few days of training before traveling to Aarhus to face Denmark. Aron Johannsson and Danny Williams, who return to the squad after long absences, look to restore their spot in the squad and mainstays Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley look forward to facing tough European opposition.

    2015 Werner Fricker Award Winner - Bruce Arena

    National Soccer Hall of Fame member, former U.S. Men’s National Team head coach and current LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award.

    MNT Closes Out January Camp with Win Over Panama

    Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey scored first-half goals and the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Panama 2-0 in the USA’s 2015 home opener.

    Brian McBride's 2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction Speech

    Former Men's National Team player Brian McBride is inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2014 along with Bob Bradley and Kristine Lilly. McBride gave his induction speech at U.S. Soccer's Anniversary Dinner in San Francisco.

    MNT vs. Panama: Highlights - Feb. 8, 2015

    The U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Panama with goals by Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey on Feb. 8, 2015.

    MNT Hopes Hard Work Pays Off against Panama

    The U.S. Men's National Team takes on Panama in its first home match of 2015 and hopes to finish January camp with a win. Jozy Altidore, Miguel Ibarra, Nick Rimando and Jurgen Klinsmann preview the match.

    MNT vs. Chile: Highlights - Jan. 28, 2015

    The U.S. MNT fell to Chile 3-2 in the first match of 2015.
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