By IVES GALARCEP
The 4th of July weekend is a special one or American soccer fans, as one national team prepares to try and defend a title, and another attempts to win its first one in 16 years.
Episode 219 of The SBI Show previews the Women’s World Cup final, which will pit the U.S. Women’s National Team against Japan in a rematch of the 2011 World Cup final, won by the Japanese.
Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss the U.S. Men’s National Team’s friendly against Guatemala on Friday, and what we should expect from Jurgen Klinsmann’s team in its final Gold Cup tune-up match.
We also discuss the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16, and preview MLS Week 18.
Give Episode 219 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:
By RYAN TOLMICH
After feeling the wrath of new Financial Fair Play rules this past season, Manchester City and Paris Saint-German have seen their clubs’ punishments conclude.
UEFA announced Friday that the federation had lifted the punishments put on the two big-money clubs, who saw restrictions on transfer spending and Champions League squad size this past year. The two teams’ settlement agreement with the federation do still require the clubs to meet certain guidelines for 2016.
“We are now able to be more active on the transfer market to make our team even more competitive by recruiting the right talents that our team needs,” said PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi.
“However, we are mindful that the settlement signed last year with UEFA is still applicable. Our club has, among other objectives, to reach a break-even result in 2015-16, so we will spend our money on the right players as we always did it and this will help the PSG to grow. We don’t have an unlimited budget.”
Here are some more news and notes to kick off your Friday morning: Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
The subtweet of the week was apparently no subtweet at all. If Landon Donovan is to be believed, at least.
Donovan was a guest on the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday, and one of the topics the retired U.S. Men’s National Team star discussed was his Tuesday tweet that came during the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 2-0 World Cup semifinals win over Germany.
Donovan published a tweet commending veteran Abby Wambach’s leadership despite not starting for the Americans, but also added that it was “priceless” to have such an experienced figure on the bench during the World Cup. Those comments were instantly perceived by many as Donovan having a subtle dig at U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who controversially left Donovan off the 2014 World Cup roster.
Donovan, however, shot down that notion on Wednesday.
photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
CONCACAF has approved the change, and Greg Garza is now officially on the U.S. Men’s National Team’s Gold Cup roster.
U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday afternoon that Garza has replaced the injured Brad Davis on the 23-man American squad that is preparing for a Gold Cup title defense. Garza had been brought into camp earlier this week by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, but the U.S. needed to file paperwork and have it approved by CONCACAF before being able to officially swap Garza for Davis.
The 23-year-old left back, who is currently on loan at Atlas from Club Tijuana, has started in two U.S. matches this year. He made his debut for the Americans and played in each of their five games that followed the 2014 World Cup.
Garza and the U.S. will play their final friendly before the start of the Gold Cup on Friday, as they take on Guatemala at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.
What do you think of Garza officially being added to the USMNT roster? Expecting him to start at the Gold Cup? Would you have preferred to see another player called in for Davis?
Share your thoughts below.
By AARON CRANFORD
The deadline for a Minneapolis stadium plan has come and gone for Minnesota United FC, so it and MLS have turned its attention to constructing a new soccer-specific stadium in St. Paul.
In a release on the league website, MLS said that it was now turning its focus to the other half of the Twin Cities, after completing a deal in Minneapolis became untenable late in May. Dr. Bill McGuire, owner of Minnesota United, had proposed a soccer-specific stadium plan that called for private funding for stadium construction but public subsidies on infrastructure around the stadium as well as other tax exemptions.
The plan did not receive enough support from the city of Minneapolis or the Minnesota state legislature, leading to the project being stalled for the time being.
The deadline for the Minneapolis stadium plan ended July 1, and MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said the NASL club would meet with St. Paul officials, including a possible meeting with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, in order to hopefully rectify the situation.
By FRANCO PANIZO
Five days and one game are all that separate the U.S. Men’s National Team from the start of its CONCACAF Gold Cup title defense, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is likely to make the most of that remaining time and fixture.
The U.S. will have its final tune-up before the start of the Gold Cup on Friday, as the Americans host Guatemala at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The friendly will give Klinsmann one last opportunity to assess the state of the team before next Tuesday’s tournament opener, and also a chance to see which players might best comprise a starting lineup.
Ideally, Klinsmann would be able to toss out his preferred group from the onset on Friday so as to give it a game to fine-tune things. But the fact that his European- and Mexican-based players are coming off of vacations complicates things, and could lead to him going with a more in-form starting eleven that does not necessarily include all of the U.S.’s top talents.
One thing Klinsmann will certainly be looking closely at is how the Americans perform in the formation he trots out. The U.S. had success in June’s friendlies vs. the Netherlands and Germany, but did so by using two different tactical looks. Klinsmann could be inclined to go back to one of those formations, but may consider something else entirely given that key veterans Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Alejandro Bedoya are all returning to the fold after missing those wins on European soil.
Who will start for the U.S.? Here is a lineup we could see starting against Guatemala:
Photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
The U.S. Men’s National Team is less than a week away from kicking off the Gold Cup, but Friday night brings one last opportunity for the team to fine-tune ahead of the crucial summer tournament.
The U.S is set to take on Guatemala at LP Field on Friday night in Nashville, Tennessee, giving head coach Jurgen Klinsmann one last chance to eye his roster before deciding on starters for the Gold Cup opener against Honduras next Tuesday.
Klinsmann is planning to feature many of the regulars from the start of the game against the Guatemalans, but also intends to take full advantage of the six substitutions that are available in friendlies. That way, he can get a real sense of who is ready for the Gold Cup.
“I think the game against Guatemala will give us a really big hint toward the starting eleven a couple of days later in Dallas against Honduras,” said Klinsmann. “In the friendly with Guatemala we have the chance to use six subs. We will use all six subs most likely to give the players minutes and give them a chance to show us what they have.
“As we get closer to the opening game we’re going to zoom in and plan through hopefully a long tournament.” Continue reading
Photo by New York Cosmos
By RYAN TOLMICH
The New York Cosmos were forced to settle for a frustrating loss to the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night, but the ramifications may extend into the NASL fall season.
Midfielder Walter Restrepo was injured in Wednesday’s action, forcing a substitution in the 72nd minute of the 4-1 loss. Restrepo’s injury came in a game in which he was one of the Cosmos’ best players, as the midfielder repeatedly had his way on the right side against the Red Bulls’ defense.
Restrepo’s creativity may be missing this weekend, as he is now being listed as questionable heading into Sunday’s Fall Season opener against Indy Eleven.
“Walter felt his hamstring,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese, “so we’ll evaluate now what he’s going to do and we’ll see if he’s available for Sunday.”
Restrepo was not the only Cosmos star to deal with hamstring issues, as forward Raul missed the first half of the game due to a similar issue. Raul came on at the start of the second half.
“At first we didn’t think he was going to be able to make it,” Savarese said. “Finally, we felt that it was about 75 percent, so with that we felt that he could step in the game, be smart, and he did.”
Here are some more of Thursday’s NASL news and notes: Continue reading