Perfect in Opening Games of the Gold Cup
Dating back to the inaugural tournament in 1991, the U.S. MNT is a perfect 12-0-0 in CONCACAF Gold Cup openers, defeating Trinidad & Tobago (1991, 1996), Jamaica (1993), Cuba (1998, 2005), Haiti (2000), Korea Republic (2002), El Salvador (2003), Guatemala (2007), Grenada (2009), Canada (2011) and Belize (2013).
The team has outscored opponents 33-6 in its initial Gold Cup games, earning clean sheets in seven of the 12 matches. Chris Wondolowski’s hat trick in the team’s 6-1 victory against Belize in 2013 marks the most goals scored by a U.S. player in the opening match of the tournament.
Omar and Greg return to Dallas
Defenders Omar Gonzalez and Greg Garza hail from the Dallas area and both also played for famed U.S. Soccer Development Academy club Dallas Texans.
“It’s very special to come back to Dallas while playing for your national team,” Gonzalez told reporters prior to training on Sunday. “[We’re] playing in such an important tournament this year and against a good opponent in Honduras. Hopefully we can get the result we want.”
“What else can you ask for, right?” added Garza. “It’s a dream come true. For me being home, having my family, my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles – everyone being here to see me, I’m just really happy to be here.”
While Gonzalez has regularly played at Toyota Stadium with his club side LA Galaxy, Garza said he also has familiarity with the venue.
“We had the U-23s game against Mexico here about three or four years ago,” he said. “Other times, I’ve youth tournaments here and stuff like that as well. I’ve played on these [training] fields a lot when I was with my club team, the Dallas Texans, but I’ve done a couple of camps here with the youth national teams as well. Wherever you are, you have to be ready for whatever circumstances. I think it’s a good feeling to be home, but the main thing is for all of us to adapt the best way possible.”
Garza told reporters that he was trying to get as many tickets as possible to Tuesday’s game for family members while Gonzalez said he’d keep his ticket requests to just immediate family.
Otherwise, “it’d come out of my pocket,” he joked.
Gold Cup Games in Dallas
The U.S. MNT has played five previous Gold Cup matches in the Dallas metro area, going a perfect 5-0-0.
Four of those five matches came during the 1993 Gold Cup when the U.S. defeated Jamaica 1-0, Panama 2-1 and Honduras 1-0 in group play before using Cle Kooiman’s extra time winner to down Costa Rica 1-0 in the semifinals.
More recently, the U.S. defeated Honduras 3-1 at Arlington’s Cowboy Stadium in the 2013 Gold Cup semifinals, with U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya assisting on both of Landon Donovan’s goals.
Bedoya’s Fond Memory in Dallas
Almost two years on from that semifinal win in Arlington, Bedoya holds fond memories of how that performance helped him move forward with MNT.
“That was sort of my breakout back being with the National Team,” Bedoya said. “I hadn’t been playing all that much when Jurgen came in and was happy to be back in the mix on the Gold Cup roster. I waited for my chance and got it late in the group stage, continued that on and in the semifinal against Honduras I was able to create a lot with my runs. I got two important assists by being aggressive, running at them and being a presence out wide.”
Bedoya’s performance at the 2013 Gold Cup propelled him to six appearances in the team’s remaining eight matches that year and eventually on to the 2014 FIFA World Cup roster, where he appeared in all four matches for the U.S. and when healthy, has been a constant call-up to Klinsmann’s side.
“That semifinal gave me a lot of confidence,” he continued. “Since then I’ve tried to do my best for the national team and throughout 2014 and after the World Cup I think I’ve had some good, consistent performances. In terms of getting on the stat sheet, that semifinal with two assists is probably my best.”
Including the team’s two victories against Honduras in Dallas, the U.S. is 5-0-1 all-time against Los Catrachos in Gold Cup play.
Fourteen years to the day of Tuesday’s opener, the teams played to a 0-0 draw before the U.S. defeated Honduras 4-3 on penalty kicks to lift the inaugural 1991 CONCACAF Gold Cup at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
After meeting in 1993, the teams wouldn’t match up again until the 2005 semifinals when late goals from John O’Brien and Oguchi Onyewu pushed the U.S. to a 2-1 win at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The sides met twice during the 2009 tournament, with the U.S. using goals from Santino Quaranta and Brian Ching to earn a 2-0 victory during group play at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Clarence Goodson and Kenny Cooper scored for another 2-0 win against Honduras in the semifinal at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
The most recent Gold Cup meeting was the 2013 semifinal where Eddie Johnson scored in the 11th minute before Donovan put the game away with goals in the 27th and 53rd minutes in the 3-1 win.
It’s hard to tell if any young player will grow up to be elite. Beyond skill level, so many factors play in to the equation: size, fitness, physicality, athleticism and mentality all seem to matter. Yet one very underrated quality is the soccer brain – the understanding of the game and what it means to be successful in it.
While you certainly couldn’t have predicted with a ton of certainty that Michael Bradley would earn 100 caps for the United States, few if any American players can compare to the soccer schooling the U.S. Gold Cup captain received from a very young age.
Former U.S. assistant coach and current New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch played under Bob Bradley at Princeton in the early 1990s, where his first glimpses of Michael’s soccer potential came when the U.S. midfielder was only three years old.
“His mom would drop him off at our college practice sessions after he was done with day care,” Marsch told ussoccer.com. “He’d come running out of the car onto the field and start kicking balls with the guys right away. He was just so hungry for the game, he was so hungry to play with the guys after, to watch the team train, and you could always see glimpses of his soccer mind.”
Even at five years old, Marsch said you could see the makings of a great soccer player in Bradley in the way that he arranged for his first touch and he would deliver and receive passes.
As time went on, Michael moved from training sessions at Princeton to his dad’s post as an assistant coach at D.C. United and the head job with the Chicago Fire – two of the most successful clubs in the early days of Major League Soccer. Like Michael, Marsch followed Bob each step of the way.
“Whether it was with Princeton, D.C. United or the Chicago Fire, he’d wait patiently and watch training for 90 minutes just to get a chance at the end to maybe play 2v2 with a couple guys on the team,” Marsch continued. “It’s not to say any of us saw that he would become what he has, but I think we could all see he loved the game and he tried to hone his skills on a daily basis. It was going to give him a chance to be pretty good.”
Bradley spent his most formative years in Chicago. When young American players were spending time at a week-long soccer camp, Bradley was spending his entire summer watching and honing his skills against the likes of international icons Peter Nowak and Hristo Stoichkov as well as rising American stars Marsch, Chris Armas, DaMarcus Beasley, Josh Wolff and Ante Razov.
“He wasn’t like a regular kid who was interested in doing other things,” recalled Razov. “Everything he wanted to do was soccer.”
“We’d put him into some possession games and sure he’s a little kid, but he was still able to connect passes and move. The way he carried himself and went about his business there, you could kind of sense that he was different. He was willing to do anything – haul equipment, clean shoes, anything to be a part of the team. Some guys might have wondered why they were training against this kid, but there were a lot of times where he wasn’t the worst one at training as a 12-year-old.”
Having impressed with his club side the Chicago Sockers, Bradley joined the U.S. U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. It was clear that the skills and soccer brain were there, but according to Marsch the question of whether or not he could make the next step came down to his physical growth.
“Michael was a late bloomer in terms of his maturity so he didn’t physically seem like he was going to be that athletic,” said Marsch. “No one knew how his body was going to grow or how athletic he was going to be. He always had the feel for the game, but you never knew if the physical part would come along. He’s down in Bradenton and then all of a sudden at 16 years old he just shot up over 6 feet. He must have grown six or seven inches over a year and the next time I saw him, he was a man.”
In 2004, Bradley left U-17 Residency at age 16 to sign a MLS contract and was drafted by the MetroStars, where Bob had taken over as head coach the season before. In his first two seasons as a pro, Bradley appeared in 30 matches, but endured his difficult challenge when Bob was dismissed as head coach with a few matches left in the 2005 seasons.
Having watched Bradley grow as a player in Chicago, Razov played as his teammate with the MetroStars in 2005.
“You could see through what was a difficult time for everyone in New York -- with the situation of the club and Bob being the coach and then not being the coach -- you saw this young man who had to handle pressure that most that age wouldn’t have any idea how to deal with. He took it in stride and kept working.”
After the 2005 season, Bradley transferred to Dutch club Heerenveen and got his first run with the U.S. side as a substitute in their final two send-off friendlies prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. When his dad took over the U.S. side later that year, Michael was part of a new wave of young players that began the 2010 World Cup cycle for the United States.
Just before the 2007 Gold Cup, things came full circle when Michael had the opportunity to suit up with Razov and Marsch in a U.S. friendly against China. With both playing for Chivas USA, who were idle that weekend, Bob called the duo up to help fill out his training camp roster.
“I was on the bench watching the game and I remember thinking that he belonged and deserved to be there,” said Marsch. I was excited to watch his progress over the years and see what he had developed into and then to top it off, I played the last 10 minutes of the match next to him in midfield.”
Days after the U.S. lifted the 2007 Gold Cup title, Bradley was off to Canada to play in the FIFA U-20 World Championships where he starred with future senior teammate Jozy Altidore as the U.S. advanced to the tournament’s quarterfinal stage.
Eight years on, Altidore has played with Bradley at two FIFA World Cups and in 50 of his 99 international appearances. The fact that the 27-year-old Bradley will become the fourth youngest U.S. player to hit 100 caps on Tuesday night comes as no surprise to the U.S. forward.
“From the first day I met him, he struck me as a guy that was always eager to improve, always eager to learn and give his best,” said Altidore. “His mentality is what sets him apart from a lot of professionals. His will to win, improve and give everything everyday is phenomenal – it’s not easy at this level. It’s the reason he’s already hitting 100 caps.”
“Beyond the playing side, as a person, he’s got a good heart. He’s a good guy and deep down he’s soft as a marshmallow,” Altidore joked. “He cares about people close to him and that’s just as important as anything else when you talk about a great teammate.”
Hitting the century mark at such a young age will inevitably bring questions of how close Bradley can come to Cobi Jones’ U.S. record of 164 caps, wherever he lands when his international career comes to an end, according to Marsch, he’s already done much to cement himself as one of the top U.S. midfielders of all-time.
“I would say Michael is the best box-to-box midfielder the U.S. has ever had. The physical attributes along with his soccer mind and technical ability, his fearlessness, proficiency around the goal, mentality to defend and make plays that matter for the team. The whole package is unique. I don’t know that the U.S. has ever produced a player like him.
He has talents and gifts, but it’s so much more about the mentality. His mentality to be the best, to work on his game, to be good in the hardest games and hardest moments, that to me is what’s made him unique and special. I can’t imagine another box-to-box midfielder being more suited for the way that the U.S. plays than Michael and it’ll be a long time before we see another play like him.”
U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Honduras
Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas
July 7, 2015
The United States Men’s National team’s journey to defend its title in the 2015 Gold Cup begins against Honduras on July 7. The game will be played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. CT and the match will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, UniMás and Univision Deportes Network.
It was just two years ago that the pair squared off in the Gold Cup semifinals in a match that also took place in the Dallas area, at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington. The USA knocked Honduras out of the tournament, winning 3-1 to advance to the final where it would ultimately claim its fifth Gold Cup trophy.
The USA and Honduras have faced off six different times in the Gold Cup and the U.S. is an unbeaten 5-0-1 in those matches. The lone draw came in the first ever tournament in 1991, and while all was level at the end of regulation, the MNT won the tournament in penalty kicks.
The teams have matched up 22 different times in total. The MNT has outscored its Central American opponent 37-21, while going 14-4-4.
U.S. ROSTER NOTES:
- Sixteen players on this roster were a part of the MNT’s 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, marking the highest return rate of players between the two rosters in years where the Gold Cup has followed the FIFA World Cup (1991, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2013).
- Six players were a part of the USA team that won the Gold Cup in 2013: Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Omar Gonzalez, Nick Rimando and Chris Wondolowski
- The USA has reached the Gold Cup Final in five straight tournaments and six out of the last seven. The team finished in third place in 2003 after losing to a Kaka-led Brazil.
- Clint Dempsey (15), Michael Bradley (11) and Beckerman (11) have all played in more than 10 Gold Cup games. Bedoya and Wondolowski are also experienced players on the roster with eight Gold Cup caps each.
- Thirteen players on the roster have previously played in the Gold Cup, of which 10 have lifted the trophyThe 23 players on the roster average 30 international appearances with 14 having played in a minimum of 20 matches for the U.S. MNT
- The USA has won the Gold Cup five times (1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013) and finished as the runner-up four times (1992, 1998, 2009, 2011). The MNT has finished outside of the top four only once (2000).
- Dempsey (5), Wondolowski (5), Beckerman, Bradley, and Diskerud, have all scored goals in previous Gold Cups. All five of Wondolowski’s goals came in the 2013 Gold Cup, where he tied for the tournament’s Golden Boot.
- Dempsey is the only two-time winner (2005, 2007) and the only three-time participant.
- Nine different players from this roster have scored for the USA in 2015: Jozy Altidore, Bradley, John Brooks, Timmy Chandler, Dempsey, Diskerud, Aron Johannsson, Chris Wondolowski and Gyasi Zardes.
- Michael Bradley will captain the MNT for the USA’s run in the Gold Cup. Bradley has started as the team’s captain in six straight matches.
- Brad Evans assisted on the game-winning goal in the team’s win over the reigning World Cup champion.
- Tim Ream has earned honors as the Bolton Wanderers Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons
- Against Netherlands on June 5, Brad Guzan made his first appearance since he played against Colombia on Nov. 14, 2014. It was his first start of 2015. Also picking up wins against Germany and Guatemala, Guzan is a perfect 3-0-0 in 2015.
- Fabian Johnson helped lift Borussia Mönchengladbach to a third-place finish in the Bundesliga that earned the club a spot in the 2016 UEFA Champions League group stage. The German side went 10-0-2 with Johnson in the starting lineup this season.
- Johannsson recorded four goals in his final three matches as AZ Alkmaar snatched the third spot in the Dutch Eredivisie and a place in the 2016 UEFA Europa League.
- Alfredo Morales played a key role in FC Ingolstadt securing first place in the second division in Germany and subsequent promotion to the Bundesliga.
- Bradley has played every minute of the USA’s seven matches so far in 2015. In addition to Bradley, two other MNT players have appeared in all seven games this year: Zardes and DeAndre Yedlin.
- Graham Zusi was both part of the team that represented the U.S. in the World Cup last summer and made his first appearance of 2015 in the match against Guatemala
- 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.
- Ventura Alvarado has appeared in six straight matches since making his debut in a U.S. uniform on March 25 against Denmark. Alvarado is a regular starter for the Club America team that captured the CONCACAF Champions League title and a trip to the FIFA Club World Cup. Alvarado has started three of the last four games for the U.S. MNT, in which the team is 4-0-0.
- Seven leagues from six countries are represented on the roster: Canada, England, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands and the United States.
- Altidore leads the team in points with five in 2015 on two goals and an assist.
USA vs. Honduras:
- The teams’ last meeting ended in a 1-1 draw in Boca Raton Florida. Jozy Altidore scored the goal for the USA, which was assisted by Michael Bradley.
- Since 2002, the MNT has lost to Honduras on U.S. soil only once (11-1-1)
- In 2013, prior to the meeting in the Gold Cup, the teams met for a pair CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. The first took place in February in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where the Central Americans won, 2-1, to take their first home win against the U.S. since 1965. Clint Dempsey put the U.S. ahead early, but after Juan Carlos Garcia leveled in the 40th minute Jerry Bengston followed with a late goal in the 79th to put Honduras over the top. The U.S. responded in the game later that year, winning 1-0 in the Qualifier in the Sandy, Utah. Jozy Altidore netted the game winning goal in that matchup
- This will be the sixth game between the teams during Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure as head coach (3-1-1).
- The United States is 14-4-4 all-time against Honduras and is unbeaten in the last three games
- The MNT is 12-0-0 all-time in CONCACAF Gold Cup openers since 1991.
- The MNT is 5-0-0 all-time in CONCACAF Gold Cup play in the Dallas metro area.
- The team has twice played Honduras in the Gold Cup in the Dallas metro area.
- The team used a 29th minute goal from Alexi Lalas to defeat los Catrachos 1-0 in group play on July 17, 1993.
- More recently, a brace from Landon Donovan and another goal from Eddie Johnson let the MNT past Honduras 3-1 in the 2013 Gold Cup semifinals. Current U.S. player Alejandro Bedoya assisted on the second and third goals in the 3-1 win.
- The MNT is 5-0-1 all-time against Honduras in CONCACAF Gold Cup play.
- Fourteen years to the day of Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener, the U.S. and Honduras faced off in the Gold Cup Final in 1991. After played to a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes, Fernando Clavijo scored what would be the winning spot kick as the U.S. defeated Honduras 4-3 on penalties to lift the inaugural Gold Cup title.
Last Time Out:
The USA completed its Gold Cup preparations with a 4-0 win against Guatemala on July 3 in front of a state-record crowd of 44,835 fans in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Brad Guzan earned his 10th career shutout
- Timmy Chandler scored his first international goal, Clint Dempsey tallied his 41st and Chris Wondolowski scored his 10th
Spotlight: Michael Bradley
- Captain Michael Bradley is on track to earn his 100th cap in the match. He now has 99 appearances since debuting for the USA in 2006. He would be the fourth youngest U.S. player to 100 caps, behind Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones and Marcelo Balboa.
- Five of Bradley’s 99 caps have come against Honduras, with the team going 4-1-0 in those matches.
IN FOCUS: Honduras
Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras
FIFA Affiliation: 1946
Head Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
FIFA World Ranking: 75
Best World Cup Finish: Group Stage 1982, 2010, 2014
Best Gold Cup Finish: Runners-up 1991
Leading Cap-Winner: Amado Guevara (138)
Leading Goalscorer: Carlos Pavon (57)
Guatemala Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Donis Escober (Olimpia/Honduras); Luis Lopez (Real España/Honduras); Noel Valladares (Olimpia/Honduras)
DEFENDERS (8): Ever Alvarado (Olimpia/Honduras); Brayan Beckeles (Boavista/Portugal); Wilmer Crisanto (Motagua/Honduras); Maynor Figueroa (Unattached); Henry Figueroa (Motagua/Honduras); Bryan Garcia (Vida/Honduras); Johnny Leveron (Marathon/Honduras); Johnny Palacios (Olimpia/Honduras)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Bryan Acosta (Real España/Honduras); Jorge Claros (Qingdao Jonoon/China); Carlos Discua (Motagua/Honduras); Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo/USA); Mario Martinez (Real España/Honduras); Alfredo Mejia (Panthrakikos FC/Greece); Andy Najar (Anderlecht/Belgium); Romell Quioto (Olimpia/Honduras)
FORWARDS (4): Erick Andino (Victoria/Honduras); Rubilio Castillo (Motagua/Honduras); Eddie Hernandez (Motagua/Honduras); Antony Lozano (Olimpia/Honduras)
- Six players from the Honduras 2013 Gold Cup roster are a part of this group for 2015 and seven players from its 2014 World Cup team return for this tournament
- Honduras is 18-17-6 all-time in the Gold Cup and has gone 2-4-2 in 2015.
- Midfielder Andy Najar spent three years in MLS with D.C. United, before moving on to Belgium. The 22-year-old is a starter for Anderlecht and scored a goal against Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League last October.
- Jorge Luis Pinto is an experienced manager. This will be his first big tournament at the Honduran helm. Last summer he led Costa Rica to the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This will also be Pinto’s first match against the U.S. MNT as coach of Honduras. With Costa Rica his record against the USA was 2-2-0. Pinto earned honors as the CONCACAF coach of the year in 2014
- The roster is almost entirely domestic. Seventeen players on the 23 man roster play for Honduras club teams, with six competing for Olimpia
- 30-year-old Boniek Garcia is the oldest player on the roster and plays in MLS with Houston Dynamo , while 21-year-old Bryan Acosta is the youngest.
On the field against Honduras:
October 14, 2014 – FAU Stadium – Boca Raton, Florida – International Friendly
USA 1 Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley) 10th minute
Honduras 1 Maynor Figueroa (Emilio Izaguirre) 86th munute
USA: 22-Nick Rimando; 21-Timmy Chandler, 13-Jermaine Jones, 5-Matt Besler (16-Tim Ream, 64), 14-Greg Garza; 19-Graham Zusi (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 64), 10-Mix Diskerud (9-Miguel Ibarra, 90), 4-Michael Bradley (6-Alfredo Morales, 75), 11-Alejandro Bedoya (15-Joe Corona, 78); 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (23-Bobby Wood, 64), 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs Not Used: 3-Michael Orozco, 12-Bill Hamid, 18-Chris Wondolowski
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
HON: 22-Donis Escober; 13-Wilmer Crisanto, 3-Maynor Figueroa (capt.), 5-Victor Bernárdez, 7-Emilio Izaguirre; 20-Jorge Claros (23-Edder Delgado, 46), 19-Luis Garrido, 14-Oscar Boniek García (8-Juan Josue Rodríguez, 69), 17-Andy Najar (10-Mario Martínez, 62); 9-Alberth Elis (12-Marvin Chávez, 75), 21-Roger Rojas (11-Romell Quioto, 46)
Subs Not Used: 1-Kevin Hernández, 4-Henry Figueroa, 6-Bryan Acosta, 15-Wilfredo Barahona, 16-Javier Portillo
Head Coach: Hernan Medford
With the entire U.S. MNT Gold Cup roster gathered in Nashville on Thursday, U.S. Soccer ran players through a photo and video shoot ahead of this month’s regional championship. About halfway through the shoot the day before the game against Guatemala, defender Timmy Chandler arrived at the photo station and was told to replicate a regular goal celebration for the cameras.
“I don’t have one. I never score,” said the veteran right back who has just five goals in over 100 Bundesliga appearances.
“If I ever score --,” he tried to explain, before being cut off by team photographer John Dorton.
“It’s not a matter of if you ever score, it’s when you score,” he said.
Chandler would have done well to take that wisdom to heart going into Friday’s friendly. With the U.S. already leading 2-0 in the 58th minute, the 25-year-old received a pass from DeAndre Yedlin on the right and took the space in front of him to unleash a lethal, left-footed strike inside the far left post.
In the immediate moments following the goal, Chandler showed he hadn’t thought much about that celebration still. Instead of pumping his first or jumping in the air, Chandler got mobbed by his teammates about 25 yards from goal.
It was the celebration he preferred anyway.
“I didn’t have time to think,” he said Saturday morning. “I was very shocked -- it was a very nice goal. I was just happy to see all the guys come to me, congratulate me and laugh. The day before they asked me to do a celebration and I told them I didn’t have one because I never score. The next day I score. It’s a funny story, but I’m just happy to score my first goal for the National Team – it meant a lot for me.”
Following the match, the right-footed Chandler told reporters that four of his five professional goals had come with his left foot. Aside from the obvious reason of a right back cutting inside to shoot, Chandler told ussoccer.com Saturday his left peg just feels stronger to take shots with.
“I feel confident in my left. I’m better crossing inside with my right, but I think I have a better, harder strike with my left. It has happened a few times in the Bundesliga. I’ve tried it a few times, but not every time as good as yesterday. The goal gave me some confidence, for sure.”
Chandler’s goal helped put the game out of reach for Guatemala before Chris Wondolowski added a fourth late in the match. While he earned praise from Jurgen Klinsmann post-game, Chandler agreed with the U.S. manager’s assessment that the team needed to improve upon its performance ahead of Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener against Honduras in Frisco, Texas.
“The first 10-20 minutes we didn’t play a very good game. We let the ball go a little bit. It’s not the best we’ve played in the last few months. After the second goal we did well, but we take Jurgen’s comments to heart. We know we need to do more to win against Honduras.”
Post-Game Quote Sheet: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Guatemala
July 3, 2015
U.S. MNT head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
Thoughts on the match:
“Well first of all, we all would like to thank Nashville and this crowd. What amazing support. What an amazing atmosphere – 44,000 in a friendly at this time when our women’s team will play in the World Cup a few days from now, it was really wonderful to see. A big thank you to everyone for coming out there today.
Result? Nice. Obviously 4-0 sounds really nice. Performance? Not so nice. I’m not happy with that performance. I’m kind of disappointed with a couple things: movement off the ball, speed of play, urgency … things that we talked about before were not executed the way we wanted them to be executed. We were lucky to not get a tie, certainly at the beginning of the second half. If it’s 1-1, it’s a whole different ball game. It looks really nice at 4-0, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
On the importance of the friendly before the Gold Cup:
“It was very, very useful. I’m really glad that we had the opportunity to go out there tonight and see where everybody is. We had some very positive performances in some ways and some not so positive performances. We have to talk to the players in a team context and also talk to them on an individual basis and take it from there. We have four days to prepare for a game against Honduras. If you guys had a chance to watch them play Mexico two days ago, you can expect a very, very nasty game from Honduras, a very aggressive and difficult game. We’ll talk through that the next couple of days. We have to step it up. We have to step it up in order to get three points on Tuesday night.”
On issues the team had against Guatemala:
"I think we gave some chances away that we can’t afford at the international level – too easy, just too easy. Also, we didn’t create enough. We didn’t find ways to play quickly with our forwards. The forwards were not able to combine with the midfield, make themselves available, and move off the ball more and to cause more issues at the back. It’s all connected. Every piece is connected and that’s where we have to improve over the next couple of days.
On if he has his lineup set for Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener vs. Honduras:
“We have a very good roster together here and a clear idea of how we’ll approach Honduras on Tuesday night. As I said before, it was extremely important for us to see the guys out there and give them all their minutes. It was important to get a clear picture right away where everybody stands. It’s a very tricky preparation for the competition because our European and Mexican-based players are coming from a break and MLS is in full swing, but also our MLS players had a couple issues. This is what we’ve got to go through, and the next couple of days we’ll get everyone on the same page and face a very tough Honduran team on Tuesday night.
On Clint Dempsey’s goal boosting his confidence heading into the Gold Cup:
“Well for strikers, it’s always about getting the goal. He got the goal. I think that kind of helped and lifted him. We saw that after the goal, he kind of got a better rhythm and he was more mobile, but as I said at the beginning, both strikers – Jozy and Clint – were not really connected for most of the game until the second or third goal came. Until then it wasn’t really the case.”
On individual performances that stuck out:
“There were definitely some players that looked sharp, looked focused, looked in very good shape and knew what was coming up. Coming up is three and a half weeks that’s a grind that will get more difficult every game than the one before. I think Fabian Johnson had a couple very positive runs down the left. Timmy Chandler had a good game. John Brooks is growing. He’s becoming far more mature, he’s becoming a leader. Ventura Alvarado, when he came in, played a solid game. Michael Bradley was all over the place trying to connect the pieces. Gyasi Zardes had a lot of good energy going forward, but defensively we try to teach him, which is a work in progress. There are definitely good things. and there are things we need to work on.
On why Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya didn’t appear in the match:
“I needed to see some players. I don’t need to see Kyle. Kyle gives you always 1000 percent. He knows his role. He just proved it in Holland and Germany. I wanted to see different pieces there. Alejandro is still coming from a longer break and still has a lot of work ahead of him physically to get in the same condition as some other guys. We’ll work that as much as we can in training.
U.S. MNT forward CLINT DEMPSEY
On putting his penalty kick up the middle:
“I’ve done it sometimes. Sometimes you can see the ‘keeper cheating a little bit going early. It’s always something to have in your locker when you feel it’s going to be on to try it. It worked.”
On playing his first game following suspension:
“It’s always good to play. It’s always good to be with the National Team. I’m excited to play in the Gold Cup. I want to make sure we win it and qualify for the Confederations Cup.”
On Michael Bradley being named captain for the Gold Cup:
"It’s cool. Michael is a great leader. He deserves to be captain, and for me I’m just excited to be part of the team that is trying to push to win the Gold Cup and be a part of the Confederations Cup. I got to experience being captain during the World Cup, and for me that was something special and I’ll always remember it, but it’s never been a big thing for me to be captain. Even with my club team in Seattle I’m not the captain. For me it’s just about the team and just trying to win and win games and trying to do something special.”
On his suspension:
“That’s something I’ve put behind me. I’ve talked with my teammates, talked with coaches. I’m just focused on moving forward, focused on the Gold Cup and making sure we win it and putting ourselves in a position to make sure we’re qualifying for the Confederations Cup.”
On the team’s overall performance:
“It’s always good to win, always good to get goals, always good to get a shutout, but we expect a lot of our team. We know that we can be better. We know that we’re going to have to be sharper to win the Gold Cup and make sure we hit the ground running the first game against Honduras.”
U.S. MNT captain MICHAEL BRADLEY
On what the team got out of the match:
“It’s important to get 90 minutes under our belt, and the result was certainly good. Now we can get ourselves to Dallas and get ready for the tournament. These games are always tricky. The most important thing is to get through it and everybody’s healthy and it’s still a good result. We scored some goals, and we understand that there are some things that need to be better and need to be improved on and they will be.”
On the MNT being the perceived favorite to win the Gold Cup:
“We don’t pay too much attention to what gets said on the outside. We understand that to win this tournament we’re going to need to improve as the tournament goes on, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to do that.”
On being the captain:
“I said before the game, it’s a huge honor. It’s a big responsibility and one that I’m very, very excited about, but who I am and what I’m about on the field and off the field with this team doesn’t change whether I’m captain or not. We’re always lucky with this team that we have a number of guys who come in and are big personalities and are ready to take responsibility: myself, Clint [Dempsey], Jozy [Altidore], Brad Guzan, and encourage some of the younger ones who now have started to get a taste of all this to take a bigger role. There’s a feeling amongst the entire group that we’re in something together and that’s how it should be.”
U.S. MNT defender TIMMY CHANDLER
On his goal:
“I just got the ball back from DeAndre [Yedlin] and then I tried to finish with my left foot. I just tried to finish and the ball flew very well and it was a nice feeling when I saw the ball go into the goal.”
“That was definitely one of my better all time goals. I have scored five goals in my career and four with the left. It was an amazing feeling to score my first goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team. I’m proud that we won this game today and now we have to go to the Gold Cup and move forward.”
On how the game went for the team:
“I think good. We needed like 10-15 minutes to come into the game, but after that I think we played very well together. We had a lot of new players that changed after the last camp, but we got into the game and we played well and we scored four goals, which was very important and we did not give up a goal, so we’ll try to carry those positives over into the Gold Cup.”
U.S. MNT goalkeeper BRAD GUZAN
Thoughts on the match:
“I think all of us as players, we’re not naïve to think that we were unbelievable tonight. We know there are areas where we need to sharpen things up. We know there are areas where we need to clean things up. In saying that, going forward from here on out it’s about results. I think winning is a mentality – it’s contagious. It was important that we kept that going from two great wins in Europe. Although it wasn’t our best performance, it was important that we found a way to win, which we did. We created a number of chances which was obviously a credit to our strikers and attacking players and on top of it, we did get a clean sheet. Although it wasn’t our best performance, we found a way to get a win. In this type of tournament, you need to do that sometimes.”
On Guatemala’s attack early in the second half:
“Obviously they brought on some good players at halftime and we knew they would at some point. Guys like Carlos Ruiz, [Marco] Pappa, these guys, we know them. We know what they’re about. They bring an element of quality to their team and we knew the second half was going to be different from the first half, especially with them making changes. We weathered that storm a little bit and at the same time we were able to go down to the other end and score some goals.”
On the team’s defending on set pieces:
“From my point of view we’ll want to look at that and make sure we’re organized. If teams are going to sit back and look to counter and look to get set pieces and fouls and put balls into the box, we need to make sure we’re sharp and organized. If I’m being completely honest, there were times I thought we weren’t as organized as we should have been and we got away with one or two. We’ll definitely look at the video, we’ll iron that out, and from my point of view that’ll be one of the areas we’ll want to look at.”
On the atmosphere in Nashville:
“Unbelievable. I was fortunate enough to come here in ’09. The atmosphere was awesome and this tonight surpassed that. The fans were unbelievable, the atmosphere was great and every time we’ve come here we’ve been welcomed with open arms. Especially with the forecast for tonight, to have the support that we did was phenomenal.”
On his communication with the back four:
“Obviously there are a lot of us that are coming from different parts. Whether it’s European players that are coming off a two-week break, whether it’s MLS guys that are now coming back into the picture. It’s just a matter of ironing out those details. Obviously communication helps, but at the same time you try to understand what guys are about and what their strengths are. You try to play towards certain guys’ strengths and going forward we’ll try to do that.”
On earning the clean sheet:
“Obviously you read the reports from you guys. We went through a spell last fall when we were playing games in Europe and we conceded late goals and everyone was making a big deal about it. For us as players, whether it’s the first minute or the 90th minute, we try to be solid and hard to play against and mentally we have to be focused and switched on to make sure we don’t concede late, especially in a game like this because as scoring goals is contagious and winning is a habit, so are clean sheets. You want to start picking those up in terms of not conceding goals. It’s nice to not have to pick the ball out of the back of the net.”
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (July, 3 2015) – The U.S. Men’s National team, behind a Guatemala own-goal and scores from Timmy Chandler, Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski concluded its preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 3-0 win in front of a Tennessee state record crowd of 44,835 at Nissan Field in Nashville.
Dempsey has made a habit of scoring against Guatemala. His penalty kick goal in the 73rd minute was his fifth against the Central American nation. Chandler’s goal was the first of his international career with the USA and Wondolowski has now reached doubled-digit goals in his U.S. career.
The stage is now set for MNT’s run in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the team will look to defend its 2013 title. The USA starts group play on Tuesday, July 7, with a match against Honduras at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The game will be broadcast live FOX Sports 1, UniMas and UDN. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter @ussoccer and @ussoccer_esp.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Carlos Castrillo (own goal) 19th minute: Michael Bradley split two defenders with a through ball along the right side, which the speedy DeAndre Yedlin took toward the endline, where he sent in a cross. Castillo stooped to head the ball back to his ‘keeper, but put his clearance past a scrambling Paulo Motta and into the bottom right corner of the goal. USA 1, GUA 0 (SEE GOAL )
USA – Timmy Chandler 58th minute: DeAndre Yedlin cut back in the wide right channel and passed to Timmy Chandler, who was open in support. Chandler took a controlling dribble to his left and sent an absolute rocket into the lower left corner of the goal from 25 yards out. USA 2, GUA 0 ( SEE GOAL)
USA – Clint Dempsey (Penalty Kick) 73rd minute: Michael Bradley was fouled in the box to set the USA up with its second penalty of the game. Dempsey stepped up to take it and calmly chipped it in over the diving goalkeeper. USA 3, GUA 0 ( SEE GOAL)
USA – Chris Wondolowski (Gyasi Zardes) 86th minute: Gyasi Zardes fielded a Dempsey lob on the left side of the box and dribbled all the way down to the end line. As he approached the goal Motta came off his line, but Zardes tiptoed around him and tapped a right footed pass back to Wondolowski, who buried from close range. USA 4, GUA 0 FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Brad Guzan, (save) 33rd minute: Guatemala’s Carlos Mejia sent in a dangerous cross in front of goal where Jairo Arreola was finishing his run. Guzan, sensing the danger, took a quick step and slid in front, denying he opportunity.
USA – Brad Guzan, (save) 39th minute: Guatemala earned a free kick on the right side. A high, looping cross found Wilson Lalin on the back post. Lalin sent a header back across the mouth of the goal, but Guzan was ready, smothering the shot and falling on it safely.
USA – Brad Guzan, (save) 46th minute: Guatemala broke away at the start of the second half with an early attack. A cross in from the right side bounced around and ended up at the feet of Carlos Ruiz, who quickly ripped a left-footed shot at goal. Guzan dove and brought down the shot for the save.
Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT begins play in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup when it takes on Honduras on July 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram
- Midfielder Michael Bradley is just a game away from the century cap mark. He now has 99 appearances since debuting for the MNT in 2006. He is in sole possession of 16th place on the MNT all-time list.
- Timmy Chandler scored his first international goal in his 22nd appearance with the USA.
- Brad Guzan earned his 10th career shutout, to move into a tie with Arnie Mausser for fifth on the U.S. MNT’s all-time list.
- Clint Dempsey scored his 41st goal, affirming his standing in the No. 2 position on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list. The goal was his fifth against Guatemala.
- The back four of Timmy Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, John Brooks and Fabian Johnson was 12th different back four the U.S. has deployed in the team’s 13 matches since last summer’s FIFA World Cup.
- Sporting KC midfielder Graham Zusi made his first MNT appearance of 2015, having last played in the team’s 1-1 draw with Honduras on Oct. 14, 2014 in Boca Raton, Fla.
- The United States is 14-4-6 all-time against Guatemala. The MNT is unbeaten in the last 20 games, which is the team’s longest streak against any nation and dates back to 1988. Five of the last six games have been wins for the USA.
- The U.S. has outscored Guatemala 10-0 in its last two matches.
- The MNT is unbeaten against Guatemala on U.S. soil, improving their record to 15-0-1
- Chris Wondolowski also scored against Guatemala in the MNT’s last matchup with Central Americans in 2013.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -
U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Guatemala
Date: July 3, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Nissan Stadium; Nashville, Tenn.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Weather: 76 degrees; Cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
GUA 0 0 0
USA – Carlos Castrillo (own goal) 19th minute
USA – Timmy Chandler (DeAndre Yedlin) 58
USA – Clint Dempsey (penalty) 72
USA – Chris Wondolowski (Gyasi Zardes) 86
USA: 1-Brad Guzan; 21-Timmy Chandler, 3-Omar Gonzalez (13-Ventura Alvarado, 46), 6-John Brooks (15-Tim Ream, 61), 23-Fabian Johnson (14-Greg Garza, 46); 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 10-Mix Diskerud (7-Alfredo Morales, 61), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 19-Graham Zusi (20-Gyasi Zardes, 46); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore (18-Chris Wondolowski, 68)
Subs Not Used : 12-Nick Rimando, 22-William Yarbrough, 16-Brad Evans, 5-Kyle Beckerman, 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 9-Aron Johannsson
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
12-Paulo Motta (capt.), 2-Ruben Morales, 4-Wilson Lalin, 13-Carlos Castrillo (19-Carlos Figueroa, 74), 15-Deniss Lopez; 6-Carlos Mejia (18-Aslinn Rodas,
84), 14-Kendel Herrarte (10-Jose Contreras, 46), 17-Brandon De Leon (8-Jonathan Marquez, 69), 23-Jorge Aparicio, 7-Jairo Arreola (16-Marco Pappa, 46),
22-Minor Lopez (20-Carlos Ruiz, 46)
Subs Not Used: 1-Victor Ayala, 21-Ricardo Jerez; 3-Jose Pinto, 11-Gerardo Arias
Head coach: Ivan Franco Sopegno
Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 9 / 13
Shots on Goal: 6 / 4
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 1
Fouls: 11 / 11
Offside: 6 / 3
USA – Mix Diskerud (caution) 35th minute
USA – Michael Bradley (caution) 48
GUA – Carlos Castrillo (caution) 71
GUA – Carlos Ruiz (caution) 71
USA – Timmy Chandler (caution) 81
Referee: Jorge Perez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Rangel (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Salvador Rodriguez (MEX)
4th Official: Jorge Rojas (MEX)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Timmy Chandler
- Tonight marks the 50th time that Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey will appear in the same match for the MNT.
- Four of Clint Dempsey’s 40 international goals have come against Guatemala.
- The back four of Timmy Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, John Brooks and Fabian Johnson marks the 12th different back four the U.S. has deployed in the team’s 13 matches since last summer’s FIFA World Cup.
- Sporting KC midfielder Graham Zusi makes his first MNT appearance of 2015, having last played in the team’s 1-1 draw with Honduras on Oct. 14, 2014 in Boca Raton, Fla.
- Starting goalkeeper Brad Guzan made his international debut against Guatemala in a 4-0 friendly win on Feb. 19, 2006.
- Making his 99th international appearance, Michael Bradley is the only player to start all eight MNT matches in 2015.
- The United States is 14-4-6 all-time against Guatemala. The MNT is unbeaten in the last 20 games, which is the MNT’s longest streak against any nation and dates back to 1988. Five of the last six games have been wins for the USA.
- All four of the USA’s losses to Guatemala have been on the road in Guatemala City, and three of the four ties were also away from U.S. soil. In the USA, the MNT’s record against Guatemala is 14-0-1. The USA has outscored the Guatemala 39-17.
- The teams’ last meeting was also a Gold Cup tune-up ahead of the 2013 edition of the tournament. On July 5, 2013 in San Diego, California, the U.S. rolled to a 6-0 win. Alejandro Bedoya and Chris Wondolowski each contributed a goal.
- In 2012 the team’s met for a pair CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. The first took place in June in Guatemala City, where the two tied 1-1. In that game Fabian Johnson assisted Clint Dempsey for the USA’s goal. Guatemala’s Marco Pappa bent in a stunning free kick in the 83rd minute of the game to level it and secure the only point for the Guatemalans against the U.S. in the last eight years. Later that year in October, Dempsey would find the net against Guatemala two more times, notching a brace to lead the U.S. to a 3-1 win. Michael Bradley assisted on Dempsey’s second score.
- Pappa is teammates with Dempsey and Brad Evans at Seattle Sounders FC, while Guatemala defender Elias Enoc Vasquez plays alongside Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman at Real Salt Lake.