Monday Kickoff: U.S. preps for Czechs, title weekend recap and more

Good morning all. It's Monday and the start of one of the most important weeks of the year for American soccer fans. A week from now, we will know who the 23 players on the World Cup squad are, as well as knowing just what kind of shape that squad is in after playing a pair of friendlies on the East Coast.

The United States has moved its training camp headquarters from Princeton to Hartford, Connecticut ahead of Tuesday's friendly vs. the Czech Republic at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. According to U.S. Soccer, only 23 of the 30 players in camp will dress for the match (though at this point there have been no cuts made yet). Considering the injury status of some veterans such as Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerit, you can expect a handful of starters to sit this one out as players still vying for roster spots get a look.

The past weekend was also one filled with its share of impressive events, as well as weird ones. Here are just a few:

Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich, 2-0, to lift the UEFA Champions League title, giving Jose Mourinho is second title and likely sending him off to Real Madrid in style.

Toluca defeated Santos Laguna in penalty kicks to win the Mexican League championship. Santos Laguna had two different opportunities to finish Toluca off in PKs, but failed both times.

From the "This stuff only happens to France" department comes word that French national team defender William Gallas was injured in a buggy racing accident that was part of a team-building exercise. The injuries weren't serious, but at some point you wonder if Raymond Domenech should be committed.

Australia began its World Cup preparations with a 2-1 victory against fellow World Cup participant New Zealand. The United States takes on Australia in the final pre-World Cup friendly for both teams on June 5th.

South Korea disposed of Japan, 2-0, in another friendly featuring World Cup teams, on Monday.

Today will have its share of intrigue, as England takes on Mexico in a friendly at Wembley Stadium (3pm, FSC). The match will the first chance American fans will have to see the team the United States will face in its World Cup opener on June 12th (while also giving them a glimpse of arch-rival Mexico).

In other friendly action, Argentina takes on Canada as Diego Maradona gets to unveil the squad he is putting together, and lets us know whether there is truly a method to his madness.

These are just some of the stories to get your day going. What did you think of the weekend's championship action? Impressed with Inter's performance? Still can't believe Santos Laguna lost that penalty shootout? Glad you're not a French national team fan?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Mexican Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team, World Cup 2010. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Monday Kickoff: U.S. preps for Czechs, title weekend recap and more

  1. Interzil says:

    Will the US Czech game be on tv? What time and which channel?

  2. Lorenzo says:

    I hope Mourinho goes and gets whooped by Messi and Barca

  3. srfinger says:

    7:30 on ESPN.

  4. andrew in tampa says:

    Hey Ives, thanks for the training camp coverage. Any word on EJ’s injury?

  5. Matt says:

    Today? Thank god they’re coming to hook up my tv today haha.

  6. Aristophanes says:

    Who else from the SBI mafia will be at the Hartford game?

  7. Erik says:

    Are you on the west coast today? I thought the Mexico – England game was at 3 pm EST?

    (SBI-It’s 3pm, I looked somewhere that said Noon, which was obviously Pacific.)

  8. Erik says:

    thx, i totally went searching too.

  9. Reid says:

    i thought it started at 8pm, either way can’t wait

  10. Upstate Jason says:

    Does anyone know the TV ratings for the Champions League final?

  11. Zach says:

    Am I the only one that wants to see England destroy Mexico? I could see it happening, mainly because the match isn’t being played in Azteca.

    A 4-0 England win (where Mexico looks really bad rather than England looking amazingly good) would suit me just fine :)

  12. Erik says:

    It’s how how us Soccer fans in the US want that info. They should be out tomorrow morning I believe.

  13. Matt B says:

    Game starts at 8, pregame coverage at 7:30

  14. Erik says:

    We need a story on How Mourinho is going to have talks with Madrid about taking over the team while Pelegrini is actually still the coach.

    If I were him I would quit with immediate effect and air all the dirty laundry of how they finance their deals. Madrid is such a joke of a club. They amassed the most amount of points in La Liga history and they still fire the gaffer. Mind you Barca had more points, but that’s not the point.

  15. DeuceForPrez says:

    I’d rather see England get stomped to show them that CONCACAF is legit up top and to shut up the Brits about dominating their weak group in UEFA qualifying.

  16. Paul says:

    If Madrid kept a coach for longer than one year, they might actually build a team and win some silverware.

  17. DLewis10 says:

    I’d rather see a close game. If England beats Mexico 4-0 than we have to be nervous about are group stage games. And if Mexico beats England than we have to be worried about upcoming Matches with Mexico as well. If it’s a close game then both of those worries will be dulled.

  18. freddie footballer says:

    Mexico match also on Telemundo for those who don’t have Fox.

  19. johnnycougar says:

    I hope it doesn’t happen but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some world cup starters injured on Wembley’s pitch

  20. bryan says:

    i agree that they need to find a coach and stick with the guy. i thought pelligrini did okay considering it is a new team. however, i can’t say im upset to hear Jose is probably coming. But they seriously need to sit tight after this and just stop changing everything. let the team become a team!

  21. Josh D says:

    We need a top of the postings post that’s sticky and is updated with games that are being played that day, updates on score, and general information on teams (who is cut, injured, etc).

    Thanks : )

  22. Felix says:

    I think Mexico will get obliterated today. But not because England is SOO much better than El Tri but because Mexico struggles against physical, fast teams with a decent level of technical ability (like the US and Honduras) and England has those traits in spades. Plus England will be at home in Wembley on that crappy pitch which will do no favors to the Mexicans who like to keep it on the carpet. I think this could be a 4-1 or a 3-0 to the Three Lions.

  23. DC Josh says:

    Capello is said to be starting Adam Johnson and Joe Hart. I can’t wait to see Johnson, he’s unbelieveably good. I’m hoping we get to see most of their full squads, but am afraid this will be for the guys on the fence. Probably won’t be able to take too much away from this game. I’ll speed home and watch nonetheless.

    And what’s with this Champions league game I keep hearing about?

  24. Zach says:

    Wait…so you’re NOT already nervous about our group stage match with England? Only an English win today would begin to make you nervous? I’d say you were in the minority. I’d much rather play Mexico over England any day. Mexico are far and away the weaker side

  25. Erik says:

    Mexico will show just fine. They have become better over the course of the year and could make some noise in SA.

    England isn’t as strong as people seem to think either. I don’t see Mexico winning, but I think it will be close.

  26. Adam M. says:

    This isn’t about Pelligrini, its about trying to wrest the plot in Spain back from Barca. I’m guessing given how close it ended up that there would have been a different result in La Liga this year if Kaka had been healthy, and that’s really no one’s fault. But Madrid also seemed to lack any sort of overall game plan, and Mourinho, who just beat Barca in the CL semis, certainly brings that. If he brings Maicon along with him, then its a huge gain for them.

  27. 8bitjeff says:

    Why do I get the impression that France is Rocky Balboa in Rocky III and everyone else in their Group is Clubber Lang?

    I think it would be best if Mexico plays England tough no matter the outcome. (1-1 or a 2-1 win by England is a fair outcome). It will give our boys an added level con confidence to see Mexico hold up well.

  28. Zach says:

    Agreed. Mexico are a much different side away from home.

  29. DC Josh says:

    Clint Dempsey has made The Guardian’s list for European goal of the year voting:

    link to

  30. Come one you Yanks says:

    I can’t cheer for either team, so I will be watching the FSC replay tonight and I’ll likely be pulling for the pitch.

  31. Jose S. says:

    Not Yet. Although I did find this.

    The Knockout rounds averaged 141,000 viewers from 28 games on the Fox channels this year,

    down 51% compared to last year on the ESPN family (287,000 viewers from 20 games)

    Reasonal drop considering the difference in availability. ESPN and ESPN 2 are available in like 95% of the country while FSC is only available in 30% or so.

  32. strider says:

    Well, I would rather have England handle Mex relatively easily and be more complacent when they play us. England 3-1 or 2-0 would suit me fine. I’m much more concerned about how this affects our match with England than how CONCACAF is viewed in Europe.

  33. AQK says:

    ignoring the Championship Playoff Final again I see.

    The UEFA CL final= 60m pounds to winner
    The Championship Playoff Final= 90m pounds to winner
    (EPL TV revenue + guaranteed parachute payments)

    Congrats Blackpool.

  34. Vik says:

    SO GLAD i’m not french.

  35. Upstate Jason says:

    Thanks. I’m hoping ratings for mothership Fox were good enough to warrant more over-the-air national TV exposure.

  36. Warren says:

    Yeah the players complain after every game there.

    You’d think after what $1bn they would have decent turf.

    But I guess that costs extra.

  37. Warren says:

    Agreed, some may not have noticed Mexico has a solid coach and an improved squad of young talent.

    Which will raise the bar for the US to retain primacy in CONACAF, which is a good thing.

  38. sread says:

    Perfect scenario would be:

    Mexico narrowly beats England 2-1 on some defensive blunders and some cheeky theatrics by Mexico–2 English players are injured–the keeper situation is even more confusing–the hooligan fans rush the field and try to mob both Mexicans and English players after the whistle–another fight breaks out in the locker room involving JT and Rooney, both refusing to speak to eachother–the English press has a hayday and, lastly, David Beckham shows confidence in the English NATS in a post match press conference, saying that the 3 lions still have a great chance of winning it all…

    Would that be the greatest situation posssible for the US knowing we play England in a matter of weeks? Arguable, yes. Is it completely realistic, knowing both teams? Absolutely, yes.

  39. john.q says:

    im hoping england dominates thereby giving them a false sense of security when face concacaf teams like the USA

  40. K Bone says:

    I think the best thing in the world would be for Mourinho to go to Real and take Drogba and Lampard from Chelsea, thus dropping them from the EPL title race. If anyone thinks they would be fine without Lampard and Drogba, they are crazy. And even if they don’t go to Real, they are both in their 30’s and their time is running out anyway. Still, it would be hilarious to see their two best players leave to play for Mourinho…

  41. john.q says:

    clint is currently 3rd place. c’mon SBI vote!

  42. sread says:

    Both you and Felix make good points, imo. England will have a serious edge playing in Wembley. They probably won’t field a starting 11 like Mexico will, but they will show a lot of fight and most of the English players will be playing for a spot or a starting role in SA.

    Mexico is much better than they were 1 yr ago in every aspect. I’d say they can probably hang with most teams around the world and they are gaining tons of confidence through all of these friendlies–albeit, they are mostly squeeking by and have been playing at home. I’d say 2-1 England.

  43. Andrew in Tampa says:

    Rumor that Roy Hodgson is being considered to return to Inter as head coach. Would be sad to see him leave Fulham. He is such a great coach. With this bunch of players, any other manager would be struggling to avoid relegation.

  44. Betinho says:

    Yes he is and there’s voting involved. Get on it guys! Vote Dempsey 2010! Deuuuuce!

  45. Fidel says:

    is it going to be aired live at the same time as FSC?

  46. DLewis10 says:

    I didn’t say I wasn’t nervous. I would be more nervous if England beats Mexico 4-0 because Mexico is close to the USA skill level.

  47. Alexandria says:

    2nd that.

  48. Sergio of SF says:

    I want to see England lose.

  49. Illmatic74 says:

    The men’s soccer team of UCLA has to be proud. They tied the team that would go on to win the Champions league in a friendly.

  50. bryan says:


  51. BlueWhiteLion says:

    thanks for the link. Some amazing goals, and some amazing buildups, assists, and dribbles. But I can’t for the life of me understand why number 1 and 2 are ahead of Dempsey. There are others that are more fantastic, as far as goal scoring. Robben’s tee off is amazing, as was Maynard’s. Also liked Maicon’s control and Nasri’s dribbling.

  52. rob says:

    I don’t get it. “We have to be nervous about are group stage games.”

    You do mean “our” right?

  53. BrianVT says:

    I would *NEVER* wish for players to be injured, regardless of team or country.

  54. inkedAG says:

    Seriously, buggy racing??? What are they smoking in France?