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US Soccer

U-20 MNT Falls to Fulham FC 1-2 in Second Match at 2016 Dallas Cup

DALLAS (March 22, 2016) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team fell to Fulham’s U-19 team 2-1 in the second group stage match at the 2016 Dallas Cup.

The U.S. started the game off on the right foot, nabbing the first goal. Forward Emmanuel Sabbi tallied for the USA in the 17th minute, assisted by defender Auston Trusty. Fulham FC equalized just a minute later and finished the game off with the match-winning goal in the 86th minute.

The U-20 MNT faces off against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s U-19 in its last group in the Gordon Jago Super Group. Earlier in the day, CF Monterrey beat TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 3-0. The U.S. is third in the Bracket A standings with three points. Fulham FC lead the group with four points, followed by CF Monterrey Rayados (3) and Hoffenheim (1).

Fans can watch the USA’s final group match on ussoccer.com.

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

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Fulham FC
Date: March 21, 2016
Competition: Dallas Cup; Gordon Jago Super Group
Venue: Richland College; Dallas, Texas
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. CT
Attendance: 800
Weather: 64 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:   1      2      F
USA                               1      0      1
FUL                                1      1      2

USA – Emmanuel Sabbi (Auston Trusty)                17th minute
FUL – Stephen Humphrys (Joshua Walker)           18
FUL – Elijah Adebayo                                                      86

Lineups:
USA: 12-JT Marcinkowski; 23-Matt Olosunde, 14-Auston Trusty, 5-Tommy Redding, 13-John Nelson; 21-Sebastian Saucedo (17-Amir Bashti, 79), 18-Jackson Yueill (6-Danny Acosta, 90+1), 16-Cameron Lindley (capt.), 11-Josh Perez (20-Jeremy Ebobisse, 64); 10-Emmanuel Sabbi (2-Aaron Herrera, 90+1), 9-Victor Mansaray
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Jonathan Klinsmann, 4-Miles Robinson, 15-Andrew Lombard
Not Dressed: 3-Marcello Borges, 7-Brooks Lennon, 8-Eryk Williamson, 19-Sebasitan Elney
Head coach: Omid Namazi

FUL: 1-Magnus Norman; 12-Marlon Fossey, 5-Aron Davies, 4-Opoku Jerome, 2-Ryheem Scheckleford; 7-Luca de la Torre (15-Cassian Thomas, 71), 6-Joshua Smile, 18-Jayden Harris (19-Elijah Adebayo, 64), 11-Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson; 10-Stephen Humphrys (17-Isaac Pearce, 80), 9-Joshua Walker (8-Foday Nabay, 64)
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Shane Elworthy, 13-Taye Ashby-Hammond, 16-Moritz Jenz, 14-Harrison Paton
Head coach: Steve Wigley

Stats Summary: USA / FUL
Shots: 6 / 8
Shots on Goal: 3 / 7
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 5
Fouls: 15 / 14
Offside: 5 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
FUL – Jayden Harris (caution)                                                     38th minute
FUL – Ryheem Scheckleford (caution)                                    41
USA – Auston Trusty (caution)                                                   55
USA – Cameron Lindley (caution)                                             71

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U-20 MNT Mar 22, 2016

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

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Fulham FC
Date: March 21, 2016
Competition: Dallas Cup; Gordon Jago Super Group
Venue: Richland College; Dallas, Texas
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. CT
Attendance: 800
Weather: 64 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:   1      2      F
USA                               1      0      1
FUL                                1      1      2

USA – Emmanuel Sabbi (Auston Trusty)                17th minute
FUL – Stephen Humphrys (Joshua Walker)           18
FUL – Elijah Adebayo                                                      86

Lineups:
USA: 12-JT Marcinkowski; 23-Matt Olosunde, 14-Auston Trusty, 5-Tommy Redding, 13-John Nelson; 21-Sebastian Saucedo (17-Amir Bashti, 79), 18-Jackson Yueill (6-Danny Acosta, 90+1), 16-Cameron Lindley (capt.), 11-Josh Perez (20-Jeremy Ebobisse, 64); 10-Emmanuel Sabbi (2-Aaron Herrera, 90+1), 9-Victor Mansaray
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Jonathan Klinsmann, 4-Miles Robinson, 15-Andrew Lombard
Not Dressed: 3-Marcello Borges, 7-Brooks Lennon, 8-Eryk Williamson, 19-Sebasitan Elney
Head coach: Omid Namazi

FUL: 1-Magnus Norman; 12-Marlon Fossey, 5-Aron Davies, 4-Opoku Jerome, 2-Ryheem Scheckleford; 7-Luca de la Torre (15-Cassian Thomas, 71), 6-Joshua Smile, 18-Jayden Harris (19-Elijah Adebayo, 64), 11-Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson; 10-Stephen Humphrys (17-Isaac Pearce, 80), 9-Joshua Walker (8-Foday Nabay, 64)
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Shane Elworthy, 13-Taye Ashby-Hammond, 16-Moritz Jenz, 14-Harrison Paton
Head coach: Steve Wigley

Stats Summary: USA / FUL
Shots: 6 / 8
Shots on Goal: 3 / 7
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 5
Fouls: 15 / 14
Offside: 5 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
FUL – Jayden Harris (caution)                                                     38th minute
FUL – Ryheem Scheckleford (caution)                                    41
USA – Auston Trusty (caution)                                                   55
USA – Cameron Lindley (caution)                                             71

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US Soccer

Turning Adversity to Opportunity at Lou City

When foundations are sunk deep, firm and with care, a structure can come through an earthquake unscathed. Louisville City have that kind of solid base. When the only coach they’ve ever known departed the club mid-season and on the eve of their 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal with four-time champs Chicago Fire, the players didn’t throw their hands up. Nope. They stepped up. Because that’s what strong players at strong clubs do. Hell, that’s what families do.

“They did an amazing job of creating that foundation here,” said George Davis IV speaking about the abrupt departure of head coach James O’Connor and his staff for the vacant job at Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Orlando City a few short weeks ago. As long as there’s been a Louisville City Football Club – since the first season in 2015 – O’Connor was the guiding light. Now Davis, and teammates Paolo DelPiccolo and Luke Spencer, pick up the baton as player-coaches. “Now it’s up to us to make sure we carry it on, stay on track and keep doing the things we’re good at.”


(Sean Totsch - a native of the Chicago area - heads home for a tilt with his hometown team)

Success is a word you hear a lot around the team’s training facility in Kentucky. Lou City are defending United Soccer League (USL) champions and the only team from the second-division still alive among the Last Eight of the 2018 Open Cup. Far from lost in the wilderness after O’Connor’s departure, the players are in soaring spirits, wide-eyed in the face of a test both strange and amazing. You’ll not find a team at this level led by player-coaches often. This is no Sunday League. The Triumvirate, as fans have taken to calling their new coaches, began on the right foot with a win over Tampa Bay Rowdies followed by a slim 1-2 loss to 2008 Open Cup runners-up Charleston Battery on the road. They’re still fourth in the USL standings and haven’t missed a beat.

New = Exciting
“This is absolutely unprecedented,” said Paco Craig, his accent an arrow to his native East London, where he came up through the West Ham Academy before making the jump to the States and Young Harris University in Georgia. “It’s exciting. Something new like this is always exciting. It’s been a pretty seamless transition and a lot more exciting things can happen from this. It’s unheard-of and teams really haven’t done it before, so we could be breaking ground and revolutionizing the way teams are coached.”

Davis IV, a 30-year-old journeyman midfielder from Ohio, is keeping his feet on the ground as a newly minted player-coach. His job description changed, in an instant, from training hard and playing hard (exclusively), to helping run the squad, picking the starting XI and making changes on gameday. “The three of us are going all-in and trying to get input on every situation,” he said when asked about the division of labor and balance of power among the three new player-coaches. “We’re three guys who are very passionate about the game and the club. It’s interesting and it can be difficult, but we’ve all embraced it and it’s going well for us.”


(George Davis IV is one of three player-coaches installed after the departure of James O'Connor)

There’s an esprit de corps in the Lou City squad that’s hard to ignore. “We may have three coaches, but we have 20 decision-makers,” insists Del DelPiccolo, the former New England Revolution and Montreal Impact midfielder. Defender Sean Totsch, a native of North Dakota in his fourth year as a pro, agreed: “If you look around training you can see it – all the players are stepping up and speaking up. Everyone’s willing to play a bigger role in the running of the team. Everyone’s pitching in where we need it.”

Players 1 to 20 Step Up
You can’t miss the sense of investment and pride in these boys, from starting striker to back-up goalkeeper, at the opportunity to take hold of the wheel. Virtually all of Lou City’s players live together in the same apartment complex, and the bond in the side skews somewhere past sports team and slightly shy of family. They feel invested in decision-making, in taking the ship right smack into the middle of the storm with confidence. But their next test in the Open Cup is the Fire, the star-studded MLS side from Chicago that – by the very virtue of their name – evoke broken dreams, natural disasters and the kind of destruction that can strip buildings to their girders.

“Chicago has some very good players like Basti [Schweinsteiger] and Dax [McCarty] and [Nemanja] Nikolic,” said Davis IV, readying his team for their sternest test since they beat New England Revolution of MLS in the Fourth Round. “But at the end of the day, we’re all footballers and we want to win. We’ll try to find their weaknesses and play to our strengths. We go there with nothing less in mind than a result.”


(A gritty team with attitude and talent to burn, Lou City are the lone surviving USL team in the 2018 USOC)

That kind of backed-up bluster is infectious around the camp and in a locker-room spurred by success and long on self-belief. “We’re loving it,” said Craig, a sparkle in his eye. “We want to test ourselves against the best and we totally expected to get this far in the Open Cup. We always set the bar as high as we can. We’re greedy and we want to win it all. Maybe we won’t, but that’s where we’re aiming.”

It is truly remarkable to witness such a positive – and collective – response to the departure of a towering figure and beloved leader. O’Connor casts a long shadow and the players still speak of him with total respect. “He deserved his chance in MLS – anyone who’s been around him or worked with him knows that,” said Davies IV. “We’re all really proud of him and happy for him.”

With Adversity, Comes Opportunity
But adversity brings opportunity. And every single member, from one to 20, on that Lou City bench is embracing the responsibility that comes with it. They’re using it. Digging deeper to go higher. “This is the kind of thing that can really bring a team together,” said Totsch, who played two and half years for the Fire’s (U-23) PDL side. He’s from the Chicago area and 150 of his friends and family have already bought tickets for the big Open Cup contest at Toyota Park on Wednesday, July 8. “We were already really close, but this just brings us that little bit closer. We’re rallying and getting tougher through a new challenge. It won’t be easy against the Fire, but if we play to our best level, I’ll take our chances against anyone.”


(There's a Semifinal place on the line in Chicago on Wednesday for the purple-clad Kentucky side)

There’s no doom and gloom in the camp. There’s no woe is me, which would be natural. You can’t find it even if you dig deep in the dustiest corners. Instead, there are smiles, looseness and laughter, and a firm belief in the possibility of another tomorrow even with a big, bad Fire heading right for them. Their coach is gone, sure, but the spirit is strong. Their foundations are firm and deep. It’s worth noting, too, that a win over Chicago and one for Orlando City against Philadelphia Union would set a reunion between old coach O’Connor and his three young Lou City protégés (and their 17 apprentices).

“We’ve had success in the Cup for the same reasons we’ve had it in the league,” said Craig, oozing true-blue confidence ahead of a huge test of character and skill and guts. “It’s from all the hard work, the teamwork. The chemistry. All of that’s hard to argue with.” 

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U.S. Open Cup Jul 17, 2018
US Soccer

Then There Were Eight: #USOC2018 Quarterfinal Preview

Things get serious in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s Quarterfinal Round. There will be no more experiments, most underdogs have been sent packing by the big boys and the tension will be ratcheted up with a place in the Semifinals on the line. Seven teams from Major League Soccer (MLS) and one from United Soccer League (USL) will play for the right to advance on Wednesday, July 18. Hearts will be broken, dreams achieved and four winners will stroll or suffer through to fight at least one more day.

Philadelphia Union – Orlando City SC
Philadelphia Union, founded in 2010, are long on Open Cup history, having recently reached the Final in two consecutive years (2014 & 2015). Coached by Jim Curtin, a two-time Cup winner as a player with the Chicago Fire, who has made the 105-year-old tournament a priority. His team sent a message in the Fourth Round with a 5-0 hiding of 1995 champions Richmond Kickers. It was followed up by a tense 2-1 win over 2017 runners-up New York Red Bulls in the Round of 16. “We were close those two years [2014 & 2015]. We were really close,” Curtin told ussoccer.com ahead of a home test in the last eight. “We were an extra time session [2014] and a PK shootout [2015] away from lifting the Cup. But we’re still hungry for a trophy as a club.”


(Philadelphia Union boss won a pair of Open Cups as a player and lost a pair of Finals as a coach)

Orlando City will be a tough test for the Union, no matter how hungry they are. Far down the MLS Eastern Conference pecking order in ninth place, the Florida side – led by 2018 Open Cup runner-up Sacha Kljestan & co-top scorer Stefano Pinho – are likely to push hard for silverware in the Cup. In what will either be a disruptive (or constructive) development, Orlando City will be playing their first Open Cup game under new coach James O’Connor, who made the jump from reigning United Soccer League (USL) champions Louisville City FC only a few weeks ago. An able coach, to be sure, he hasn’t had much time with his new squad.

Chicago Fire – Louisville City FC (USL)
On the other side of that coin, Louisville City are dealing with the departure of the only coach in their history. Add in the fact that the men from Kentucky are the sole remaining side from USL in the field and will be led by a trio of interim player-coaches, and you’d be justified in calling Lou City heavy, heavy underdogs. Crucially, however, the players don’t buy that line. “Sure, Chicago has some very good players like Basti [Schweinsteiger] and Dax [McCarty] and [Nemanja] Nikolic and the list goes on,” said George Davis IV, one of the player-coaches alongside Paolo DelPiccolo and Luke Spencer. “But at the end of the day, we’re all footballers and we want to win. We go there with nothing less in mind than a result.”


(Louisville City spark our underdog dreams as the lone remaining USL team in the Open Cup)

Chicago, for their part, are taking dead-aim at a fifth Open Cup crown and are desperate to avoid losing out to a lower-league side for a second-straight year after being sent packing by last year’s USL Cinderellas FC Cincinnati. Serb-born Striker Nikolic is in hot form in the Cup, scoring all three of the club’s goals in wins over tough MLS opposition Columbus Crew and Atlanta United. “This [Open Cup] is important for our club and for our fans,” said Nikolic, last year’s MLS Golden Boot winner. “This is our opportunity to win something. We played two of the best teams in the league in our first two games in the Cup and we played both games away. That says something about what we’re doing here.”

Houston Dynamo – Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo, in the hunt for their first-ever Open Cup title, prepare for their third tournament home game on the trot. While the coin flip has been nice to them so far, it’s unlikely that defending champions Sporting Kansas City will have much to offer in the way of generosity. The Texans went from strength to strength since beating local amateurs NTX Rayados in their opener and their slim 1-0 win over Minnesota United cemented their credentials as 2018 contenders. Mauro Manotas scored his fifth goal in the last two installments of the tournament to become the team’s all-time Cup top-scorer and captain Philippe Senderos, 33, has turned back the years with some impressive recent performances. “In a Cup, it’s as simple as it gets – you need to keep winning. It becomes a habit,” said the center-back who won the FA Cup with Arsenal in 2005 “It’s good to get wins under you belt and keep that momentum going.”


(Daniel Salloi of SKC has gone from starlet in 2017 to full-fledged shooting star this year)

Sporting Kansas City, hunting a fifth Open Cup, have been predictably ruthless so far. Aside from veterans like Roger Espinoza, Ike Opara and Tim Melia, they’ve bolstered the squad with young blood, including Frenchman Yohan Croizet, whose 89th minute winner in the Round of 16 will go down as one of the goals of the tournament. Also in fine form is Hungarian youngster Daniel Salloi, who scored in the Final last year and has become a star in his own right in 2018. “We’ve stepped it up this year. Winning the Cup last year sets expectations high, and we want to make sure we win a trophy again,” said 21-year-old Salloi. “We’ve added quality players all around and we’re focused.”

Los Angeles FC – Portland Timbers
LAFC may be be a first-year team, but they’re crawling with Open Cup champions. Among their crop of recent winners and Finalists are Benny Feilhaber and Latif Blessing (both winners last year with Sporting Kansas City), 2016 winner Walker Zimmerman formerly of FC Dallas and Lee Nguyen, who was beaten that same year in the Final while with former club New England Revolution. “I’m very lucky here,” said coach Bob Bradley, himself a two-time winner. “Between the coaching staff and the players, we have a lot of guys with Open Cup experience and Open Cup success.”


(Latif Blessing leads a line of former Open Cup winners & Finalists at LAFC)

Portland have never won an Open Cup title, but their new coach Gio Savarese won’t be happy until he wins something. Far from making the Open Cup a priority, the former NY Cosmos boss and MetroStars goal machine, has made everything a priority. The watchword of his administration is winning and he’s been backing it up so far with victories over San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy in a comfy Open Cup campaign in which the Rose City side is yet to concede a goal. “I’m not making the Open Cup a priority in Portland. It’s not about focusing on one thing over another. I insist that we compete for everything,” he said. “And I mean everything: in practice, 5-a-side, ReGen sessions… I don’t care, you better be ready to scratch and claw to win because that’s what we’re aiming for here.”

Quarterfinals - Match Center

Date

Game (home team listed first)

Time

Venue

July 18

Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs.Orlando City SC (MLS)

7 p.m. ET

Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.

July 18

Chicago Fire (MLS) vs. Louisville City FC (USL)

7:30 p.m. CT

Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.

July 18

Houston Dynamo (MLS) vs. Sporting Kansas City (MLS)

7:30 p.m. CT

BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas

July 18

Los Angeles FC (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

Banc of California Stadium; Los Angeles, Calif.

ussoccer.com is the official website of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and will provide a stream of all 16 games of the Fourth Round. Comprehensive video and written coverage of the tournament will also be available. You can follow the Open Cup on Twitter and Instagram @OpenCup and Facebook @OfficialOpenCup.

 

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U.S. Open Cup Jul 17, 2018
US Soccer

Nemanja Nikolic: Goals are my Job

Striker Nemanja Nikolic keeps it simple. “My job is to score goals,” he said when asked about bagging all three so far in the Chicago Fire’s run to the Quarterfinal of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. In a long career spanning both sides of the Atlantic, no one can ever accuse the big Serb striker of shirking those particular professional duties.

“Every goal I score helps us get a little closer to the things I want, the things the team wants, like the Open Cup and MLS Cup,” said Nikolic, a 30-year-old veteran playing in his second season in Major League Soccer (MLS). “Every striker needs to appreciate the goals when they come because every goal can give an advantage and extra confidence for something new to come your way. As long as I’m scoring, I’m helping my teammates and my team.”


(Nikolic scored twice against Columbus Crew in the 2018 USOC & got the winner in Atlanta)

Niko, as he’s known affectionately in Chicago, won something last year. His 24 goals were enough for the Golden Boot, MLS’s top-scorer prize. But a tireless worker on the field and every inch a team player, he won’t be pleased with only individual recognition. After reaching the MLS playoffs for the first time since 2012 with a strong regular-season run last year, Chicago went out in the first round of the playoffs to New York Red Bulls. They also went out of the Open Cup at the Quarterfinal stage after a shock loss on the road against second-division Cinderellas FC Cincinnati. There’s steeliness is his voice, accented heavily toward Eastern Europe, when he says: “We are all really motivated to win something this year.”

Still a Sting
You get a sense that loss to FC Cincy, in front of a then- U.S. Open Cup-record crowd in Ohio, still stings a bit. The big striker is more than shouldering his share of the load in this year’s Open Cup, where he’s scored all three of the team’s goals in a Fourth Round win over Columbus Crew and a Round-of-16 victory against Atlanta United. Both games were on the road and Coach Veljko Paunović used strong Starting XIs, including Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty, in addition to his goal-scoring ace Nikolic, in a display of determination to land what would be the club’s fifth Open Cup crown.


(Nikolic poses at Toyota Park with the 2017 MLS Golden Boot)

“This [Open Cup] is important for our club and for our fans,” said Nikolic, whose nine goals so far in the season land him 11th in the MLS top-scorer charts, “This is our opportunity to win something. We played two of the best teams in the league in our first two games in the Cup and we played both games away. That says something about what we’re doing here. But as you get closer to the Final, the games get tougher and the pressure gets bigger. It’s important to remember, we haven’t won anything yet.”

Up next for Nikolic and the Fire is a second-straight Quarterfinal, at home at their Toyota Park, against the tournament’s lone remaining second-division team: Louisville City of the United Soccer League. Those unfamiliar with the methods and madness of the 105-year-old Open Cup might think of this as an easy day – a walk in the park. A top-division pro team against a second-tier side could only go one way, right? Chicago fans only have to look back one year to know this isn’t true. An old Cup specialist like Nikolic knows better too. “For us, this game will be the toughest one we’ve had,” said the striker. “It’s the game that opens the door to the Semifinals and then you’re just one game away from the Final. Our opponent will fight for everything and we have to respect that.”


(Niko scored 24 goals last year - best in MLS - and has nine in the league and three in the Cup so far in 2018)

He knows about the ups and downs of Cup play. He’s lifted domestic Cups overseas and been on both sides of upsets in those mid-week games when everything is on the line – when it’s win or go home. In his last year in Europe before moving to the States, Nikolic was top-scorer in the Polish Cup and led Legia Warsaw to a league/Cup double. He also scored 41 goals in 51 league games at the club. “I’ve been in more Cups than I can count,” said Nikolic with a chuckle, recalling ruefully the two times he played in the final in the Magyar Kupa [Hungary’s Cup] – and both times he lost.

While Nikolic is a goal-scorer at his core, he brings much more to the party in Chicago. Coach Paunović, himself a Serbian, had eyes on the center-forward for years before signing him up. “His quality is scoring goals and assisting, but he can participate in both phases of team play,” said the coach, who had stints in Spain and Germany. “Defensively, he helps the team to recover the ball as soon as possible. Sometimes he will benefit from team play and he will be just the finisher, but sometimes he creates his own situations in the game, the opportunities 1v1, and scoring his own goals.”


(Nikolic and co. will remember the sting of losing to second-division FC Cincinnati in last year's Quarters)

Nikolic is the first to hustle a defender after losing the ball and he’s among the most clinical finishers you’ll see. Among a raft of top strikers in MLS –your David Villas, BWPs and your Ibras – he’s right there among them for quality in the attacking third. “He wants to compete against Villa," Paunovic continued. "He wants to compete against Larin. He wants to compete against Piatti, Wright-Phillips and all the other big guys, the best scorers we have in the league. That’s what we want. We want guys who have the highest expectations and work hard to get there. He’s capable of pushing himself very, very far, but also he’s capable of influencing others to do the same.”

Open Cup Opening Up
In a professional career that’s spanned 12 seasons, seen him bag nearly a goal every other game, and line up in the finals of the EURO in 2016 with his adoptive Hungary, Nikolic is hunting for a trophy in America – and not just a top-scorer gong. He wants to be on a winning team. It’s the reason he came and the reason he was brought all this way. Like the rest of the Fire, he sees that opportunity in the 2018 Open Cup.


(23 is big number among Chicago sports fans & Niko wears it with pride for the Fire)

“We’re so motivated to win this trophy,” he said. “We are just three steps – and that’s not too much but it’s also way too much if you know what I mean. It’s still very far away and we need to focus our attentions on the next game. Your next opponent is always the toughest. If we win that, we can think about the Semifinal and the same after that.”

There are many reasons for Chicago Fire’s arrival at this stage of the competition, just two steps from the Final. Nikolic and his three goals are a major factor. To hear his motivation for success in the Cup, it’s hard to imagine him slowing down any time soon. “When you win something, you become a part of history,” said the motivated attacker, a wily old pro caught up in the allure of a Cup hunt. “And me and my teammates want to put our names in there. It’s still far away, but we want it.”  

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U.S. Open Cup Jul 17, 2018
US Soccer

U.S. Soccer Unveils RISING: Emerging Faces of the U.S. Men's National Team

With the start of the new cycle now officially underway, fans of the U.S. Men’s National Team can once again turn their full focus to the future; a future in which the mantle of the squad has been picked up by a young crop of players eager to chart a new course.

The seeds were planted during the last nine months and the early signs have been promising; now it’s time to nurture them and watch them grow. From all different backgrounds and circumstances, these hopefuls are united in their determination to reignite the pride, passion and commitment we all feel when watching the MNT represent the United States. Each one has followed a unique path to wear the crest, and in this new series ussoccer.com explores the path of the next generation.

RISING: Emerging Faces of the U.S. Men’s National Team will chronicle the route of players on their quest to become a part of the National Team by going behind the scenes with family, youth, coaches, teammates and professional club managers from across the world.  

It is a time for progress. It is a time for hope. Let the journey begin …

Watch all 11 episodes of RISING: Emerging Faces of the U.S. Men’s National Team at ussoccer.com/RISING.  

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MNT Jul 16, 2018
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