U.S. Soccer

Hope Solo: WNT's Queen of the Clean Sheet

U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo has racked up some impressive accomplishments during her career – she’s the USA’s all-time leader in goalkeeper caps, starts, wins and shutouts -- and may soon add another remarkable line to her resume. Solo heads into the match against Japan on June 2 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, needing just two more shutouts to become the first goalkeeper in U.S. history to earn 100 clean sheets.

Here’s a look at the first 98 - By the Numbers:

28           Different countries that Solo has earned shutouts against
10           Most shutouts earned against an individual country, vs. Canada and Mexico
11           Shutouts in California, most of any state
31           Shutouts earned in FIFA or CONCACAF tournaments:
                10 in the Women’s World Cup
                5 in Women’s World Cup Qualifying
                6 in Olympics
                10 in Olympic Qualifying

45           Shutouts earned in the USA
53           Shutouts earned abroad
89-0-9   U.S. record in Solo shutouts
273-0     U.S. goals scored in Solo shutouts, an average of 2.78 goals per game

Shutouts by Confederation:
16           vs. AFC
2              vs. CAF
30           vs. CONCACAF
9              vs. CONMEBOL
4              vs. OCEANIA
37           vs. UEFA             

51           Shutouts against Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, England, France, Japan, Nigeria, Norway and Sweden

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WNT May 31, 2016

2016 Open Cup Sets Stage for First All-OKC Derby

Since the inception of the game, soccer has produced a culture based on rivalries. It is a sport that naturally becomes a part of a local community, setting the stage for epic clashes between two teams that represent so much more.

American soccer’s newest rivalry will come to the forefront on Wednesday night as Oklahoma City is split for the very first time.

Following a 10-9 penalty kick shootout victory over Mississippi Brilla on May 18, the USL’s Oklahoma City Energy will take on the NASL’s Rayo OKC in the Third Round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (8 p.m. ET on U.S. Soccer YouTube).  The match sees the Energy travel just 13 miles to Miller Stadium for the first edition of a cross-city rivalry that begins with a single-elimination tournament clash.

Naturally, both Energy FC head coach Jimmy Nielsen and Rayo OKC head coach Alen Marcina insist that there is no bad blood between the two sides entering Wednesday’s contest. Just seven competitive games into Rayo OKC’s existence, neither club has had the opportunity to develop any on-field feelings toward the other. However, the U.S. Open Cup clash provides the first chance for a city still forging its soccer identity to create a unique rivalry culture.

“It takes a lot on the field,” Nielsen said. “In this situation here, I think we can bring a lot to the stands as well because the distance between the two teams isn’t that long. Hopefully, we can create a good, funny, happy, intense atmosphere in the stands. That would create a good atmosphere on the field as well. A lot of fun, big games are where the fans really create the atmosphere on the field.”

Oklahoma City Energy head coach Jimmy Nielsen won the 2012 U.S. Open Cup as a player with Sporting KC.

“It’s difficult. It’s two quality teams that are battling,” Marcina added. “Us, and I would imagine them, we take the Open Cup and any official game seriously. A lot of it is generated from fans. This is a big game, but as players and a coaching staff, our focus is on how we perform and how we prepare to get a result.”

For expansion Rayo OKC, the U.S. Open Cup process will be very new. Although Marcina and several of his players have experience in the competition, they have never embarked on a tournament run together as a group.

New Rayo OKC head coach Alen Marcina (pictured) can call upon the likes of former Open Cup campaigners
Richard Menjivar (2012 "Cinderella" run with Cal FC) and Sebastian Velazquez (2013 Finalist with Real Salt Lake).

The Energy are a young club as well, but Nielsen’s side has had that tournament experience. Last season’s U.S. Open Cup run saw the Energy advance to the Fourth Round before a 4-1 loss to Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas. Nielsen, who won the tournament with Sporting KC in 2012, says he still remembers the sting of last year’s defeat, one that the club wants to erase with another deep run in 2016.

As someone who has now been a part of the Oklahoma City soccer community for three years, Nielsen has seen the growth of the game in the city. He’s seen players recognized in the community, and he’s seen local kids become as infatuated with the game as he has.

“We should be proud of where soccer is right now in Oklahoma City,” he said. “Where we started three years ago with professional soccer compared to now, we’re taking huge steps in the right direction. You’re seeing the kids playing in all of the baseball parks because they’re outgrowing other places. We see it every day. We feel it everyday that soccer is growing very fast in Oklahoma City. It’s fantastic to be a part of and see how things are growing.

“I can’t believe I’ve been here for three years now,” the Energy head coach added. “The time has been flying. Most of the time, that means you’re having a good time.”

In its maiden season, Rayo OKC has put together a strong roster featuring notable former Greece international Georgios Samaras.

Having coached the San Antonio Scorpions the past three seasons, Marcina is new to the local scene, but also says he has seen the game develop in his short time in OKC.

The latest step in that development comes Wednesday, in a match that Marcina admits is “unique.” Few American cities boast two teams, and with Oklahoma City sides set to clash for the time, the U.S. Open Cup has become the stage for the first act between the two teams.

“We respect the Energy and what they do and the success their club has had,” Marcina said, “but in terms of preparation, we have nothing but the utmost respect for them and the quality they have on their roster and in their organization. Our guys are going to be prepared like we are for any NASL match. Ultimately, it’s about us stepping on that field and executing our game plan.

“We’re treating every game the same. The added pressure, I don’t think that’s the way to go about things,” Marcina added. “Energy is a very good team and I have nothing but the utmost respect for the coaching staff, their players, their organization. We’re going to put the same amount of work as we do for any opponent and leave it all on the line.”

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USOC May 31, 2016

USA to Face Paraguay, Ghana and Japan in Group D at 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan

CHICAGO (May 30, 2016) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team will face Paraguay, Ghana and Japan in Group D at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, taking place at four stadiums in Jordan from Sept. 30-Oct. 21. The Final Draw took place today at the Al Hussein Cultural Centre in Jordan’s capital city of Amman.

Host Jordan, European champion Germany, defending champion Japan and Korea DPR, the 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup winners and 2012 runners-up, earned the seeds across the four groups. In Group A, Jordan drew Spain, Mexico and New Zealand. Group B features Venezuela, Germany, Cameroon and Canada. Group C features Nigeria, Brazil, England and Korea DPR.

The U.S. plays its first Group D match against Paraguay on Oct. 1 at Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Al Zarqa (4 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET) before facing Ghana on Oct. 4 at King Abdullah II International Stadium in Amman (4 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET). The USA will finish group play on Oct. 8 against Japan at Amman International Stadium (7 p.m. local / Noon ET).  
  • Quote Sheet: Final Draw of U-17 FIFA Women's World Cup in Jordan

Jordan, which encompasses roughly the same square miles as the state of Indiana, will host the tournament in four venues, two in Amman, one in Irbid, which is about 60 miles north of Amman, and one in Al Zarqa, which is just 15 miles northeast of Amman. 

The 12,000-seat Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Al Zarqa, where the USA opens the tournament, features an artificial surface while the other three stadiums have natural grass. Amman International Stadium, which seats 13,000, will host the Third-Place Match on Oct. 20 and World Cup Final on Oct. 21. King Abdullah II International Stadium seats 12,000, as does the Al Hassan International Stadium in Irbid, the only venue the USA will not play in during group play. 

The 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will feature 16 teams, with the top two finishers in each group advancing to the quarterfinals. Should the U.S. advance to the second round by winning the group, it would meet a second-place team from Group C. If the USA finishes second in the group, it would face the first-place team from Group C.   

Additional Notes: 

  • The USA opens the tournament against South America third-place finisher Paraguay in what will be the second meeting between the nations in U-17 Women’s World Cup play. The two countries met in the second group match at the 2008 tournament in New Zealand with the USA prevailing 3-1 after going down a goal. It was a crucial three points as the USA lost (to Japan) and drew (with France) in its other group matches, but advanced second out of the group and made to the championship game. 
  • The meeting with Ghana will be the first between these two countries in this tournament, but second against an African team for the USA in FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup play. The USA defeated Gambia, 6-0, in group play at the 2012 tournament. Ghana qualified by defeating Morocco 10-0 on aggregate over a two-leg series to earn one of Africa’s three berths to Jordan. 
  • The Americans will finish group play against Japan, which finished second behind Korea DPR in the 2015 AFC U-16 Women's Championship. Japan won this tournament two years ago in Costa Rica, defeating Spain 2-0 in the title match. The USA and Japan met in the opening game of the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with the USA falling, 3-2. The Americans rallied to make the championship game before losing 2-1 in overtime to North Korea. 
  • This will be the fifth FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, and the tournaments has been dominated by teams from Asia. North Korea won the inaugural tournament in 2008 in New Zealand, defeating the USA, and South Korea won the second installment in 2010 in Trinidad & Tobago, defeating Japan in penalty kicks after an entertaining 3-3 tie through regulation and overtime. 
  • In the third U-17 WWC in 2012, France broke through, defeating North Korea in penalty kicks in the championship game, but Japan returned the trophy to Asia in 2014, defeating Spain, 2-0.
  • These will be the first matches ever by any U.S. Women’s National Team in Jordan. 
  • The USA won the 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship, defeating Mexico 2-1 in the championship game, but the Americans had already booked their place in the Women’s World Cup with a 5-0 victory against Canada in the semifinal. The USA out-scored its opposition 18-2 over the five matches of the tournament.  
  • The USA missed the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after falling in penalty kicks in the semifinal of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament to Canada despite out-scoring the opposition 38-0 over five games. The USA missed the 2014 U-17 Women’s World Cup after falling in penalty kicks to Mexico in semifinal of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament despite outscoring its opponents, 24-1.  

2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Groups  

Group A (Amman AIS & KAS, Irbid, Al Zarqa): 
New Zealand 

Group B (Irbid, Amman AIS & KAS, Al Zarqa):

Group C (Amman KAS & AIS, Al Zarqa, Irbid):
Korea DPR

Group D (Al Zarqa, Amman AIS & KAS, Irbid):

U.S. 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Group D Schedule

Date Opponent Location Time
Oct. 1 Paraguay Prince Mohammed International Stadium; Ak Zarqa, Jordan
4 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET
Oct. 4 Ghana King Abdullah II International Stadium; Amman, Jordan
4 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET
Oct. 8 Japan Amman International Stadium; Amman, Jordan
7 p.m. local / Noon ET 
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May 30, 2016

Youth Movement Continues to Impress Under Klinsmann

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann declared before the tournament that his team is built to focus on the present and to compete for the crown at the Copa America Centenario. That mission doesn't necessarily restrict the roster to a pool of old-guard veterans.

Alongside World Cup veterans like Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Ale Bedoya and a host of others, a group of young players have earned a shot to demonstrate their talents and fight for opportunities during this summer’s big tournament.

“This is a process, and the process is never ending,” Klinsmann said following the MNT’s 4-0 win against Bolivia. “But in the first couple of years when you're a pro, it's a big learning curve. We'll take it one step at a time. We put the pieces together for this tournament the best way that we get the right results.”

If the USA’s three warm-up matches are any indication, the learning curve may be further ahead than usual. Case in point - the average age for scorers of the last eight goals this past week is a ripe 23-years-old. Remove Tim Ream’s opening goal in Puerto Rico from the equation, and the figure drops even closer to the legal drinking age.

“What is wonderful to see is just the growth of these players over the last one or two years, how they really improved their game, how they're becoming more adult, obviously stronger physically but also becoming more confident.” Klinsmann said.

Leading the charge of the youth movement are speedy attackers Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes, ages 23 and 24, respectively.

Gyasi Zardes and Bobby Wood celebrate Zardes' second goal, which Wood assisted, in the USA's Copa America warm-up match vs. Bolivia.

Wood scored 17 goals in Germany last season for 2. Bundesliga side Union Berlin, a record by an American-born player. As a result, he was offered and signed a four-year contract with top flight club Hamburg earlier this month.

The Irvine, Calif., native has navigated his way onto the scoresheet in all three of the MNT’s warm-up games, with a smooth goal against Puerto Rico and quality assists in the wins against Ecuador and Bolivia.

“If you just see the learning curve of Bobby, I think it's very impressive,” Klinsmann stated. “I remember a couple of comments from the media side two years ago when I brought him in for the first game in Czech Republic, and people were wondering why because he was sitting on the bench at 1860 Munich, fighting against relegation in the second Bundesliga. With a young player, they can only grow if they play. You've got to give young players the chance, the minutes, and also give them the OK that they can make mistakes. They learn out of the mistakes very quickly, and this is what Bobby did.”

In 2015, Zardes tied Claudio Reyna for the most caps in a debut year for the U.S. with 19 total. Exactly 16 months after debuting for the MNT, Zardes tallied his fourth and fifth U.S. goals last night against Bolivia, marking his first international brace.

“Gyasi is an amazing character,” Klinsmann said. “He's very, very hungry to learn. He's a great listener and he knows that if certain things are not perfect yet, he’s going to work on it every day and want to improve it.”

Thanks in part to his first international multi-goal performance, Zardes is full of pride and confidence heading into the Copa America Centenario.

“I feel ready for this tournament, and this week I have before we step on the field against Colombia, I’m going to use it to the best of my ability,” said Zardes. “I’m trying to grow in confidence. Tonight helps a ton, but at the same time you can never be satisfied, you always have to keep working.”

And keep working he must. The U.S. roster features 12 midfielders/forwards for Copa America Centenario, including additional up-and-comers in 25-year-old Darlington Nagbe and 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, who scored their first international goals in the last two games, respectively.

Christian Pulisic (center) celebrates his first international goal with Darlington Nagbe (right), who assisted the strike, and DeAndre Yedlin. 

Youth isn't limited to one end other park. The roster contains three 24-and-under defenders in DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks and Steve Birnbaum.

“I think over the next couple weeks they will definitely get their opportunities to play minutes and to leave an impression and to push more and more the established players towards the edge, which is their job,” Klinsmann said.

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MNT May 30, 2016

MNT Routs Bolivia 4-0 in Final Copa America Warm-up

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (May 28, 2016) –The U.S. Men’s National Team added a line to record books as it swept past Bolivia 4-0 at Children’s Mercy Park in its final tune-up match before this summer’s historic 2016 Copa America Centenario.

The 4-0 score line, which is the largest margin of victory in U.S. MNT history against a South American country, was highlighted by Christian Pulisic’s strike that made him the youngest goal scorer in the USA’s modern era (since 1990) at 17 years, 253 days old. Forward Gyasi Zardes notched a pair of tallies – one on either side of the break – to earn the first multi-goal game of his international career. Defender John Brooks also added to his burgeoning tally with his third goal in a U.S. shirt while also helping U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan pitch the team’s second consecutive shutout.

The MNT begins the 2016 Copa America Centenario on June 3 vs. Colombia at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (6:30 p.m. PT; FS1, Univision, UniMAS, UDN). The U.S. will then continue group play on June 7 vs. Costa Rica at Soldier Field in Chicago (7 p.m. CT; FS1, UniMAS, UDN), before facing Paraguay at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. (7 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMAS, UDN).

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Gyasi Zardes (Alejandro Bedoya), 26th minute:
A flowing team passing sequence allowed Alejandro Bedoya to chip a perfect pass over the Bolivia defense to the streaking Zardes. Bolivia goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra rushed out of the goalmouth and to the top of the penalty area in an attempt to cut down the angle and clear the ball away, but Zardes beat him to the ball and calmly rolled a one-touch shot into the vacated net. USA 1, BOL 0 [ WATCH]

USA – John Brooks (Alejandro Bedoya), 37th minute: U.S. captain Michael Bradley alertly picked out Bedoya from a quickly-taken U.S. set piece and the Nantes midfielder slipped past the Bolivia defense to cut a low cross through the penalty box from the right side. With the Bolivia defense caught scrambling, Brooks lost his marker and easily side-footed the ball into the left side of the goal from the top of the six-yard box. USA 2, BOL 0 [ WATCH]

USA – Gyasi Zardes (Bobby Wood), 52nd minute: Zardes began the goal sequence by recycling a U.S. possession through Bradley who switched the point of attack with a long, pinpoint pass to Bobby Wood out wide on the left. Wood beat his defender to the end line with a speedy move and just before the ball went out of bounds, sent a low cross through the six-yard box. Zardes did well to get inside position on his defender and slid to one-time a left-footed shot into the Bolivia goal. USA 3, BOL 0 [WATCH]

USA – Christian Pulisic (Darlington Nagbe), 69th minute: Nagbe seized on a loose ball on the left side and darted through the Bolivia defense with the aid of a slick one-two with Jermaine Jones before drawing the last defender to him. Pulisic was making a run on Nagbe’s right and Nagbe slid a short pass into his path. Pulisic made no mistake and pushed a hard shot past Viscarra into the lower right corner to cap the scoring. USA 4, BOL 0 [ WATCH] FINAL

Next on the Schedule: The USA commences group play at the 2016 Copa America Centenario against Colombia in the tournament’s opening match on Friday, June 3 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. PT and the game will be broadcast on FS1, Univision, UniMAS and UDN.
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram; Snapchat (ussoccer)

Milestone Watch:

  • Clint Dempsey made his 124th international appearance, moving him ahead of DaMarcus Beasley into fifth on the MNT’s all-time caps list. He sits three back of Marcelo Balboa (127) for fourth place.
  • Christian Pulisic scored his first international goal at 17 years, 253 days, becoming the youngest goal scorer in modern era of the U.S. MNT history. Juan Agudelo previously held MNT record for youngest scorer (17 years, 359 days) when he tallied against South Africa on Nov. 17, 2010.
  • Gyasi Zardes’ two goals mark the LA Galaxy forward’s first multi-goal game for his country. He now has five career goals for the USA.

Additional Notes:

  • The win marks the USA’s first victory vs. Bolivia, improving the MNT’s all-time record against La Verde to 1-4-2.
  • The four-goal margin marks the largest margin of victory for the MNT against a South American nation.
  • The MNT won all three of its Copa America warm-up matches defeating Puerto Rico 3-1, Ecuador 1-0 and Bolivia 4-0.

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

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Bolivia
Date: May 28, 2016
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kansas
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Attendance: 8,894
Weather: 73 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:       1          2          F
USA                             2          2          4
BOL                              0          0          0

USA – Gyasi Zardes (Alejandro Bedoya)                        26th minute
USA – John Brooks (Alejandro Bedoya)             37
USA – Gyasi Zardes (Bobby Wood)                   52
USA – Christian Pulisic (Darlington Nagbe)         69

USA: 1-Brad Guzan, 14-Michael Orozco (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 46), 20-Geoff Cameron, 6-John Brooks, 5-Matt Besler (23-Fabian Johnson, 46), 11-Alejandro Bedoya (10-Darlington Nagbe, 63), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.) (19-Graham Zusi, 73), 13-Jermaine Jones, 9-Gyasi Zardes (17-Christian Pulisic, 63), 8-Clint Dempsey (18-Chris Wondolowski, 72), 7-Bobby Wood
Subs not used:
12-Tim Howard, 22-William Yarbrough, 3-Steve Birnbaum, 15-Kyle Beckerman, 16-Perry Kitchen
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

BOL: 23-Guillermo Viscarra, 4-Diego Bejarano, 21-Ronald Eguino, 5-Nelson Cabrera, 3-Luis Gutiérrez (17-Marvin Bejarano, 68), 13-Alejandro Meleán (18-Rodrigo Ramallo, 54), 8-Martín Smedberg-Dalence (22-Edward Zenteno, 74), 20-Fernando Saucedo (15-Pedro Azogue, 46), 10-Jhasmani Campos (11-Bruno Miranda, 46), 9-Yasmani Duk (capt.); 19-Carmelo Algarañaz (14-Raúl Castro, 46)
Subs not used:
1-Carlos Lampe, 12-Rómel Quiñónez, 2-Mario Saavedra, 6-Wálter Veizaga, 7-Juan Carlos Arce, 16-Cristhian Machado
Coach: Julio César Baldivieso

Stats Summary: USA / BOL
Shots: 9 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 18
Offside: 2 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
BOLJhasmani Campos (caution)              30th minute
BOL – Yasmani Duk (caution)                      76

Referee: Elmer Bonilla (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Mangandi (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Leonardo Sanchez (CUB)
4th Official: Marlon Mejia (SLV)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Gyasi Zardes

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MNT May 28, 2016