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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

Julian Araujo Replaces Ayo Akinola on USA's U-20 World Cup Roster

CHICAGO (May 22, 2019) — U.S. forward Ayo Akinola has been ruled out of the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup due to an ankle injury. After FIFA granted U.S. Soccer’s request to have Akinola replaced, LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo has been added to the 21-player roster for the World Cup.

Per regulations, an injured player may be replaced on the roster up to 24 hours prior to a team's opening match. The replacement must come from the 50-player provisional roster and approved by the tournament medical committee.

Araujo was a part of the U.S. squad that won the 2018 Concacaf Under-20 Championship last November, picking up an assist in two group stage starts. Most recently, the 17-year-old played in two friendlies for the U-23 MNT against Egypt and Netherlands in March.

At the club level, Araujo has become a regular contributor for the LA Galaxy this season, logging 289 minutes in five appearances.

The USA kicks off the U-20 World Cup on Friday, May 24 against Ukraine (2:30 p.m. ET; FS1, Universo), faces Nigeria on Monday, May 27 (2:30 p.m. ET; FS1, Universo) and wraps up the group stage on Thursday, May 30 vs. Qatar (2:30 p.m. ET; FS2, Universo).  

2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Roster by Position (Club; Hometown; U-20 Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): CJ Dos Santos (Benfica/POR; Foxchase, Pa.; 2/0), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.; 4/0), Brady Scott (Köln/GER; Petaluma, Calif.; 9/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; Lompoc, Calif.; 2/0), Sergino Dest (Ajax/NED; Almere-Stad, Netherlands; 8/1), Chris Gloster (Hannover 96/GER; Montclair, N.J.; 11/0), Aboubacar Keita (Richmond Kickers; Columbus, Ohio; 2/0), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.; 10/3), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union; Drexel Hill, Pa.; 10/0), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/GER; Birmingham, Ala.; 8/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Edwin Cerrillo (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas; 0/0), Chris Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.; 2/0), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Phoenix, Ariz.; 4/0), Alex Mendez (Freiburg/GER; Los Angeles, Calif.; 15/8), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; Highland Village, Texas; 9/3), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas; 8/2)
FORWARDS (5): Konrad De La Fuente (Barcelona/ESP; Miami, Fla.; 2/1), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg/GER; Lynwood, Calif.; 11/7), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution; South Hamilton, Mass.; 13/6), Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96/GER; San Diego, Calif.; 5/2), Tim Weah (Celtic FC/SCO; Rosedale, N.Y.; 0/0)

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U-20 MNT May 22, 2019
US Soccer

MNT Announces Combined Preparation Camp Roster to Begin Summer

CHICAGO (May 22, 2019) – The U.S. will open its summer schedule with a combined preparation camp with players from the Senior and U-23 Men’s National Teams from May 26-June 2 in Annapolis, Md. The initial group will include senior National Team players who are eligible for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup along with a number of U-23 internationals who are getting ready for their own training camp to be held from June 10-16 in Salt Lake City.

The camp shifts gears the weekend of June 1, when those players not on the provisional Gold Cup roster depart and the senior team players from MLS and the remaining European-based contingent report. The complete MNT camp roster will be announced next week.

The final list of 23 players for the Gold Cup is due by midnight of June 5 and must come from the below provisional roster of 40 players that was submitted May 16 to Concacaf.

PROVISIONAL GOLD CUP ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals)

GOALKEEPERS (5)Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 60/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 4/1), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 7/0), Tyler Miller (LAFC; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0)

DEFENDERS (15): Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 10/1), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 2/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG; 7/0), Marlon Fossey (Fulham/ENG; 0/0), Greg Garza (FC Cincinnati; 10/0), Omar Gonzalez (Club Atlas/MEX; 49/3), Andrew Gutman (Charlotte Independence; 0/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 5/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 3/0), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 12/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 28/1), Antonee Robinson (Everton/ENG; 6/0), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 6/2)

MIDFIELDERS (9)Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 145/17), Duane Holmes (Derby County/ENG; 0/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 9/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 8/1), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; 2/0), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United FC; 25/1), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 25/10), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 9/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 15/0) 

FORWARDS (11): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 110/41), Jonathan Amon (Nordsjælland/DEN; 1/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 3/0), Tyler Boyd (Ankaragücü/TUR; 0/0), Joe Gyau (Duisburg/GER; 2/0), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; 4/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 27/5), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 6/2), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 44/7) 

“Bringing together senior team players with several of the U-23 internationals gives us a fantastic opportunity to continue to instill our culture and style of play across the National Team programs,” Berhalter said. “We expect it to be a very productive week, and then we look forward to bringing in our full group before the game against Jamaica as we narrow in on the final selections for the Gold Cup roster.”

The U.S. Men’s National Team will open its final preparation phase for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup by hosting a rematch of the 2017 final against Jamaica on June 5 in Washington, D.C. Kickoff for the USA’s first visit to Audi Field is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on FS1, UniMas and UDN.

Making its first visit to Cincinnati, the U.S. Men’s National Team will face Venezuela on June 9 in its final preparation match for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. Kickoff at Nippert Stadium is set for 2 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast on FOX and UniMás.

Fans can follow both matches via U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@USMNT) and Instagram (@USMNT) accounts.

SUMMER TRAINING CAMP ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; MNT Caps/Goals)
May 26-June 2; Players eligible for the Gold Cup roster are BOLDED

GOALKEEPERS (3): JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Andrew Thomas (Stanford; 0/0), Justin Vom Steeg (LA Galaxy; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; 0/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG; 7/0), Marlon Fossey (Fulham/ENG; 0/0), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas/MEX; 49/3), Andrew Gutman (Charlotte independence; 0/0), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 12/1), Tim Ream (Fulham; 28/1), Antonee Robinson (Everton/ENG; 6/0)

MIDFIELDERS (4): Duane Holmes (Derby County/ENG; 0/0), Emerson Hyndman (Bournemouth/ENG; 2/0), Keaton Parks (New York City FC; 1/0), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers; 0/0)

FORWARDS (6): Jonathan Amon (Nordsjælland/DEN; 1/0), Luca de la Torre (Fulham/ENG; 1/0), Joe Gyau (Duisburg/GER; 2/0), Josh Perez (LAFC; 0/0), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 6/2); Haji Wright (Schalke/GER; 0/0)

SUMMER TRAINING CAMP ROSTER NOTES

  • Part of the 40-player provisional Gold Cup roster, Marlon Fossey, Andrew Gutman and Duane Holmes will look to earn their first caps in the June 5 friendly against Jamaica.
  • Defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga and Antonee Robinson each come to camp after successful loan stints in the English League Championship.
  • Having joined Reading on loan from Chelsea in January, Miazga helped the Royals to a 5-4-9 record and 24 points across their final 18 matches, one point more than what the club had achieved in its previous 26 games as they staved off relegation.
  • Carter-Vickers made 33 appearances across all competitions while on loan with Swansea City, helping the Welsh-based club to a 10th place league finish.
  • After suffering an ankle injury during the MNT’s November camp, Robinson returned strong in the second half of the season for Wigan Athletic, finishing the campaign with 26 appearances across all competitions.
  • Set to appear in his first U.S. National Team camp, Holmes has collected two goals in 27 appearances for Derby County, while helping the Rams to the English League Championship’s Promotion Playoff Final on Monday against Aston Villa.
  • Having returned to the MNT in March, Tim Ream finished the 2018-19 English Premier League season with 29 appearances for Fulham.
  • Omar Gonzalez closed the 2019 Liga MX Clausura having played in 16 of a possible 21 matches for Atlas.
  • Having debuted in the MNT’s 1-1 draw with Peru last October, winger Jonathan Amon has registered five goals and two assists in 25 matches this season for Danish Superliga side Nordsjælland.
  • Winger Joe Gyau returns to MNT camp for the first time since 2014, coming off a campaign that saw him play in 24 matches and score two goals for 2.Bundesliga side Duisburg.
  • Thirteen players are age-eligible for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo: Jonathan Amon, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Luca de la Torre, Kyle Duncan, Marlon Fossey, JT Marcinkowski, Keaton Parks, Antonee Robinson, Josh Sargent, Andrew Thomas, Justin Vom Steeg, Eryk Williamson and Haji Wright.
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MNT May 22, 2019
US Soccer

Madison’s Pink Flamingos Take Flight

Peter Wilt has looked at life, and soccer, from both sides now.

As president and general manager of the Chicago Fire in the late 1990s and early 2000s, his MLS team was always one of the alpha clubs in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, winning the tournament three times during his tenure. This spring, in a similar executive capacity with fledgling Forward Madison F.C., Wilt’s Wisconsin side is the last USL League 1 team left in the brackets, the confident underdog.

Wilt is actually enjoying this ride a bit more. “It’s so cool for David to go up against Goliath,” he said. “It’s more fun to punch up than punch down.”


(Fans at Breese Stadium are still waiting for the Open Cup coin to flip their way)

Forward Madison – known more familiarly and ironically as the Flamingos – already managed a couple of early, road knockouts. They eliminated the 2018 national amateur champion Bavarians SC (Milwaukee, Wisc.) in the First Round and then, impressively, stepped up in class to defeat full pros El Paso Locomotive of the USL Championship (3-0).

On Wednesday, May 29, Madison head to historic St. Louis Soccer Park to face St. Louis FC, another USL Championship side. And if the Flamingos win that one, then it will be another preseason target reached.

Last Team Standing
“One of our goals this year was to be the last League 1 team standing, and we did that,” said Forward Madison head coach Daryl Shore, who was an assistant coach with the Fire during Wilt’s years there. “We also wanted to be the only League 1 team to play an MLS team, which would happen in the next round. Then the rest will be gravy.”

Madison’s march through the tournament is no fluke. This is a talented roster, filled with international athletes of considerable experience who were recruited by Wilt and Shore through long-held connections. The lineup features players from such far-flung shores as Mexico, Ecuador and Panama. Josiel Nunez, in particular, is a standout, a classic No. 10 playmaker who oddly wears No. 70 on his back. He has been capped 14 times by Panama and was signed through an agent who once represented legendary Mexico keeper Jorge Campos.

Nunez’s performances are being noticed in some high places – which was the whole idea when he signed with Madison.

“When he nutmegged two players and then back-passed by another, that highlight was on Bleacher Report,” Wilt said. “For Josiel, this is a platform hopefully that will lead to MLS. He’s 26, and the window is closing. But we’re fortunate to have him.”

A First for Madison
In their first season of existence, the Flamingos are the first-ever professional club of any kind in Madison, in any sport. This is, after all, the ultimate college town; home to the University of Wisconsin and its many Big Ten teams. So far, the city has welcomed Forward Madison with open arms and checkbooks too.

The city’s governors spent about $3 million to upgrade historic Breese Stevens Field, increasing capacity from 3,000 to 5,000. Other improvements included suites, a supporter standing section and a rooftop hospitality area under a canopy roof dating back to 1926.

“It’s an old stadium that has new life,” Wilt said of the former home of baseball’s pre-World War II Madison Blues. “Satchel Paige pitched here. Jesse Owens ran here.”


(Head coach Daryl Shore was once an assistant at MLS's Chicago Fire)

Fans have come in flocks. In fact, that’s what they call themselves, the Flock. It is all a play on that flamingos nickname, which requires considerable context.

Madison is a city known for its unique sense of humor, which is part of the story. The Onion, the satirical magazine and website, started here. Kentucky Fried Theater flourished in Madison, founded by the Zucker brothers who would create the such classic films as Airplane and the Naked Gun series.

Flamingo Mystery Solved
Back in 1978, the self-mocking Pail and Shovel Party was elected to the Wisconsin Student Association, promising to convert the organization’s funds into coins and to place them in pails for students to pillage. Instead, the party erected a replica Statue of Liberty in Lake Mendota and placed thousands of plastic flamingos on the campus’s Bascom Hill.

The flamingos were soon relocated all over the town and Madison’s “official bird” later became the plastic flamingo, by city ordinance. Local owners of the new pro soccer club named the club “Forward,” which is the Wisconsin state motto, but were wise enough to take advantage of the municipality’s playful reputation. The team’s crest includes a curled-up flamingo. The team’s colors are pink and two shades of blue. The pastels make you think the club is playing in Miami, not in famously frigid Madison.


(Forward Madison players after the big win in El Paso in the Second Round of the 2019 USOC)

Forward Madison is a partial affiliate of Minnesota United of MLS, at least during its first year in operation, which can lead to potentially awkward situations. Minnesota may send down a player and expect him to get match time, only to have Wilt and Shore feel otherwise. The Flamingos can’t use any of the Minnesota roster players in Cup matches, which disqualifies three starters. Then there is the real potential that Madison may next play Minnesota in the tournament, if the Flamingos win their Third-Round game.

First, there is a trip to St. Louis. The two sides played each other this season in an early exhibition match. Saint Louis FC won 1-0 in a competitive contest. Madison keeps losing the coin flips that determine the home team in each round of Open Cup play, which means another trip, this time to St. Louis. This is their third straight heads-or-tails, home-or-away defeat, which represents an unlucky 1-in-8 statistical chance.

“I’d like to get a look at the coin they’re using,” Shore said with a chuckle.


(Club president Peter Wilt - left - and the ubiquitous Forward Madison flamingo logo) 

Wilt offers a different solution. He’d like to see the lower-seeded club host every round of the U.S. Open Cup. “There’s some logic to that,” Wilt said. “The Cup game is more likely to be a big deal for the fan base of the lower-seeded clubs, and those teams are less able to afford the travel.”

The travel experience to El Paso turned out to be particularly difficult in the previous round, because players were booked on three separate flights with three different arrival times. The Flamingos nonetheless prevailed with patient, counter-attacking tactics for a three-goal win that looked more one-sided on the scoreboard than on the field.

With that victory, Madison won the $25,000 prize that goes to the club from each lower division that advances farthest in the tournament. The players already have bonuses built into their contracts for Cup victories. They’ll likely get more now, although their coach has a very Madisonian idea about what to do with the $25K.

“That money can buy a lot of plastic flamingos,” Shore said.

 

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U.S. Open Cup May 22, 2019
US Soccer

NCFC's Sarachan & the Cup's Ups & Downs

Last December, Dave Sarachan was about to be presented as head coach of North Carolina FC when someone noticed the backdrop included a banner showing his former team, the LA Galaxy, being upset in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

“They asked me if they should take it down,” Sarachan recalled recently. “I said, ‘No, keep it up. It’s a good reminder’.”


(Sarachan took over at NCFC at the start of the current season)

Sarachan knows the ups and downs of the U.S. Open Cup, having hoisted the trophy as a champion with the Chicago Fire in 2003 and ’06, as well as having been an upset victim. In fact, the Carolina RailHawks, forerunners to today’s NCFC, took down the Galaxy three times while Sarachan was an assistant to Bruce Arena – including a year in which the Galaxy were champions of Major League Soccer.

“They made us travel to Raleigh to play three times,” Sarachan recalled. “They were a bogey team for us. We couldn’t get over the hump.” 

Back in the Open Cup
Now, after a 22-year stint that included stops throughout MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team, Sarachan is coaching North Carolina FC in the USL Championship (the cdountry’s professional second division league) and preparing for an Open Cup contest against lively amateur side Florida Soccer Soldiers on Wednesday, May 29 at Koka Booth (Field 2) at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. (7 p.m. ET).

Sarachan made the subject of Cupsets part of preparations for North Carolina’s 4-1 Second Round win over the Richmond Kickers last week. “I said to my team, this is why the tournament is so great and we always root for them,” Sarachan said of the Cup’s underdogs. “Except when we play them.”


(Sarachan - 2nd from left - with past legends of Chicago Fire & D.C. United)

“The message when we played Richmond was you can’t assume anything, whether it’s the best in MLS or an amateur team you’re playing,” Sarachan went on. “You can lose any time if your mentality is not right on the field. And the message won’t change [for the Soccer Soldiers] – they’ve beaten two good opponents on the road. They’re playing with house money. They have some high school guys, some semipro guys, they’re well-coached and they have some ability.”

Sarachan experienced immediate success as a coach in the Open Cup. In his first season as Fire head coach, the team swept to the Open Cup title, taking a 1-0 win over the then-NY/NJ MetroStars at Giants Stadium on Oct. 15, 2003.

“I met with the leaders of the team – Chris Armas, Jesse Marsch, C.J. Brown, Jim Curtin – all the senior guys, and they all wanted to win the Open Cup,” Sarachan said. “Their philosophy aligned with mine. We wanted to win the MLS Cup but any time you have a chance to win a trophy you have to put everything into that. The mentality was excellent during those runs. Everything is compounded, with regular-season MLS scheduling, crazy travel. So, it’s MLS on weekend, Open Cup midweek, juggling lineups and figuring out how not to compromise – it’s challenging.”

The Fire’s history with the Open Cup dates to the team’s first season, when they won the MLS Cup/U.S. Open Cup double. Chicago also captured the 2000 Open Cup. “First of all they appreciated the tournament and what the Open Cup really means,” Sarachan said. “A number of guys had played in it and by winning the trophy in a [tournament] that included way more than MLS teams, that meant a lot.”

Chicago ‘03 Dream Team
“So there was a lot on the line other than the soccer,” Sarachan recalled of the ’03 final. “It was a terrific, a really good game, despite being later in the year, and guys were weary. It wasn’t easy to play the Final there, it was on turf and a little cold, and that made it tricky. We had an experienced group of guys and each man was really competitive – Carlos Bocanegra, DaMarcus Beasley, Ante Razov, Evan Whitfield. Damani Ralph scored the goal and we just played well and got the clean sheet. Chris Armas was the best leader I’ve ever managed.

“At the ceremony, [former U.S. Soccer president] Sunil Gulati gave us the medals and it was a precursor to the MLS Cup final,” added Sarachan. “We didn’t win that but we did get the Supporters Shield.”

The meaning of the Open Cup to the Fire players hit home again with Sarachan after the season. “We had a banquet to kick off 2004, and word was that we were not getting Open Cup rings,” Sarachan said. “Chris Armas was our captain, and he went crazy. He said: ‘Wait a minute, what are you talking about?’ He made sure ownership knew why we did it.”


(The 2003 Chicago Fire with the old Dewar Cup trophy - brought back out of retirement that year)

The Fire lost the ’04 Final, 1-0, to the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City) as Igor Simuntenkov scored a 95th-minute golden goal at Arrowhead Stadium.

Two years later, the Fire returned to the Final, this time taking a 3-1 victory over the Galaxy in Bridgeview, Ill., on Sept. 27, 2006. “Armas had been suspended, he got a second yellow against D.C., for nothing,” Sarachan recalls. “He was crying because that meant he would miss the final.”

But the Fire started strong, Nate Jaqua (10th minute) and Andy Herron (16th) opened the scoring. The Galaxy’s Alan Gordon cut the deficit in the 51st minute and Thiago rounded out the scoresheet via a Tony Sanneh assist in the 88th minute.

“There’s always a guy or two that emerges, for whatever reason, in the tournament,” Sarachan said. “In ’03 we had Dipsy Selolwane. Then, we had Andy Herron, and in year two he was on fire.”


(Sarachan in his days at LA Galaxy, where MLS Cups were plentiful but not Open Cups)

But that would be it for Sarachan’s career as a head coach in the U.S. Open Cup. He had compiled a 14-2-1 record in the century-old tournament, but was dismissed by the Fire with the team in fifth place in the Eastern Conference in June of 2007.

Sarachan went to the Galaxy in 2008 and a rapid rebuilding project resulted in MLS Cup titles in 2011, ’12 and ’14, but Open Cup success has eluded Sarachan since ’06.

No Cup Luck in LA
In 2012, the Galaxy were in the midst of capturing successive MLS Cups when they visited the RailHawks for a Third-Round game in Cary, N.C. And the Galaxy took the lead on Pat Noonan’s 38th-minute goal. But Tiyi Shipalane equalized (75th) and Brian Shriver decided the match, heading home a Shipalane cross in the 88th minute.

The next year, current North Carolina captain Austin da Luz and Shriver converted in a 2-0 win over the Galaxy in another Third-Round match.


(Sarachan during his days in charge of the U.S. Men's National Team)

The teams met in the Fifth Round in 2014. The RailHawks blanked a forward line consisting of Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes, then took the lead on Danny Jackson’s 105th-minute goal. The RailHawks went on to lose 5-2 to FC Dallas in the Quarterfinals and finish fifth in the NASL standings that year. The Galaxy, meanwhile, ended up second in MLS’ regular season and went on to lift MLS Cup for a fifth time.

“There are upsets every year – semipro teams win,” Sarachan said, looking back in order to look ahead at his latest tilt at the Open Cup. “And that’s the other thing. As a coach you try and explain to guys and they’re like ‘whatever, yeah …’ Until you get a bit of a scare.”

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U.S. Open Cup May 21, 2019
US Soccer

Five Things to Know About the Concacaf Nations League

Later this year, the U.S. Men’s National Team will take part in the inaugural Concacaf Nations League. Here are five things to know about the new competition:

What Is It?

Similar to the recently launched UEFA Nations League, Concacaf’s version was created to maximize the quality, quantity and frequency of competitive matches for all of the confederation’s 41 Member Associations.

How Teams Qualified

A four-game qualifying tournament for the Concacaf Nations League began last September and just concluded during the March FIFA international window.

While all 41 Member Associations are part of the competition, the qualifying tournament was used to help place teams in their respective leagues for the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League: League A, League B and League C.

The Format

Here’s a brief rundown of the tournament format:

League A
Number of Teams: 12 teams
Group Format: Four groups of three teams
Qualifiers: Comprised of the six teams that took part in the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup AND the top six finishers in Nations League Qualifying.
Teams: USA, Bermuda, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago

League B
Number of Teams: 16 teams
Group Format: Four groups of four teams
Qualifiers: Comprised of the teams which finished 7-22 in Nations League qualifying
Teams: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname

League C 
Number of Teams: 
13 teams
Group Format: Three groups of three teams AND one group of four teams
Qualifiers: Comprised of the teams which finished 23-34 in Nations League qualifying and Guatemala, who was suspended at the beginning of the competition.
Teams: Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos and U.S. Virgin Islands

The Group Phase for each league is a round-robin, home-and-away format which will play out during the course of the September, October and November FIFA international dates in 2019. At the end of the round-robin competition, the League A and B teams that finish last in their groups will be relegated to the lower league, while the group winners in Leagues B and C will be promoted to the higher league for the next edition of the competition.

Additionally, the four group winners from League A will advance to the Knockout Round, where a semifinal and final will be played during the March FIFA international dates to crown the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League champion.

It’s important to note that the Concacaf Nations League will run separate from the long-established Concacaf Gold Cup, though this year’s CNL qualifying competition did help determine the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup field, with the top 10 finishers punching their tickets to this summer’s regional championship.

The Draw

The 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League Draw was held on March 27, 2019 at The Chelsea Theater in Las Vegas. The USA was drawn against northern neighbors Canada and Caribbean foe Cuba. See the full League A draw below:

2019-20 Concacaf Nations League A Draw

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

USA

Mexico

Honduras

Costa Rica

Canada

Panama

Trinidad & Tobago

Haiti

Cuba

Bermuda

Martinique

Curacao


The MNT will face a Canada side that finished second in the 34-team 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League qualifying tournament. The USA holds a 14-8-11 advantage over Les Rouges, and will play its first competitive match on Canadian soil since Nov. 9, 1997, a 3-0 win which clinched the MNT's participation at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. 

The draw also set up a fourth visit for the MNT to Cuba. The USA leads the all-time series by a 10-1-1 mark. 

The Schedule

Concacaf unveiled the full schedule for the 2019-20 Nations League group stage on May 21. Following the home-and-home series between Cuba and Canada during the September window, the USA will begin play with a home match against Cuba on Friday, Oct. 11. 

Venues for all League A, Group A matches are still to be confirmed.

The full schedule is below:

Date

Home

Away

Kickoff Time (ET)

Saturday, Sept. 7

Canada

Cuba

8 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 10

Cuba

Canada

7:15 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 11

USA

Cuba

7 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 15

Canada

USA

7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 15

USA

Canada

7:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov 19

Cuba

USA

7:30 p.m.

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MNT May 21, 2019
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