An exciting week all around for US Soccer! This one will make you proud to be an American.
Copa Copa Copa. The pressure was put on the men after last week’s 2-0 defeat to Colombia, which spurred panic and thoughts of elimination among the fans. But trust in Klinsmann. He decided to put out the same lineup that looked sluggish, full of heavy touches and stagnant play against Costa Rica in the US’s second game. This time it worked. It was a historic decision by Klinsmann but proved effective as his positive attitude to the previous game clearly had an impact on his players. Jermain Jones shined with his assist and goal, while Dempsey grabbed his 50th at the penalty spot, and Bobby Wood showed us what he was doing in the 2. Bundesliga this year with a wonderful turn-and-shoot goal. See for yourself.
The high of the 4-0 defeat of the 2014 quarter-finalists (nearly semi) carried through the week to the US’s group deciding match against Paraguay on Saturday night in Chicago. The US needed a win to ensure going through, while a draw would have most likely been fine as Costa Rica would have to had won by six.
It didn’t matter. The boys showed up, same lineup, same attitude. Paraguay looked good going forward in the early minutes, but Geoff and his partner John (savior) Brooks held strong. Look at this man.
The huge momentum shift occurred after Gyasi Zardes found Dempsey with a wonderful cross, and the Deuce slotted it home. A note on Zardes: He’s been criticized for his first touches and decision making, but let’s not forget he’s young and in his first spell of starts for the team. The dude is a workhorse, charging up and down his wing the entire game. He’s reliable in his work rate, and no doubt can make the right decision when the getting the ball into the box. You can see from the highlight that he wanted to get the ball in earlier but no teammate was available, so he played the fake, found more space, and teed it up for Clint. I’m a big supporter of his hard work. Anyway, scope the goal.
It got pretty edgy early in the second when Yedlin made two rash and yellow-card-earning challenges within two minutes, causing him to walk off and leave his team with 10 men for almost 45 minutes. But, Orozco came on for Dempsey, and the department of defense kept us safe.
Brad Guzan has been pretty solid so far, earning his stripes and separating himself from the cloud around Aston Villa.
The best part about all of this? The US rides their high into the quarter finals finishing FIRST in their group, after Costa Rica beat Columbia 3-2, leaving Columbia with a goal difference of 2, one less than the US. This is hugely controversial as outlets like ESPN wrote off the Americans, expecting them to finish last in their group. The US faces Group B runner up, Ecuador (bye bye Brazil), this Thursday (9/16) at 9:30.
The final weekend in the NASL’s Spring Season and boy what an ending. We’ll save the best for last (sorta).
Jacksonville Armada hosted the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, which resulted in a 1-1 draw. Jacksonville’s Shawn Nicklaw picked up a red in the 46th, but that didn’t stop them from scoring in the 52nd through Junior Sandoval. Tampa Bay tied it up late through Efrain Burgos. Jacksonville ends the SS with seven points through ten games, sitting in 10th. Tampa Bay much better with 16 points in 4th.
Ottawa Fury FC hosted Rayo OKC in a 1-1 draw as well. OKC struck first and early, with Ian Svantesson grabbing the 2nd minute goal. Ottawa grabbed theirs in the second half, 58 minutes in, through Carl Haworth. Ottawa ends the season on nine points in 9th, with Rayo OKC just above them with 12.
Minnesota United shut down Miami FC in a 3-1 win. Minnesota grabbed theirs in the 46th, 52nd, and 90th through Ramirez, Pinho, and Ibson. Miami grabbed their would-be consolation goal in the 66th through Chavez. Miami finishes last this season, with Minnesota in a solid third.
Now for the one you’ve been waiting for. Indy hosted Carolina in the potential game of the season. They needed four goals to tie the Cosmos GF and to win by three to tie the Cosmos GD which would put them ahead because of the head to head result. Well, they did just that. Eamon Zayed was the hatrick hero nabbing a 16, 65, and 85th minute goal. Braun grabbed one late into the first half as well. Carolina got theirs through Albadawi in the 29th. A tremendous finish in the league, with the Cosmos just having to watch their title be taken from them.
Indy’s exiting President Peter Wilt was quite emotional after the match. What a way to go out.
Let us not forget about the excitement of the USL.
New York Red Bulls kept their fight for 1st in the East alive as they took on the Harrisburg City Islanders. Sean Davis grabbed his first of the season in their win, placing them above FC Cincinnati by three and behind Louisville by one, a game in hand.
— NYRB II (@NYRBII) June 10, 2016
Louisville City FC dropped a couple of points away against the Wilmington Hammerheads this weekend, but still remain in first in the East with a game in hand. Here’s Chandler Hoffman’s equalizer just before the break.
— USL (@USL) June 12, 2016
FC Cincinnati hit a couple of landmarks this weekend as they surpassed 100,000 overall attendance this season at home already. Their twitter account also hit 20,000. Props. Get them to the big leagues. They faced up against FC Montreal this weekend and took the three points in a 2-1 win, Sean Okoli with both. That’s 10 unbeaten, just four points below league leaders Louisville. Keep watching.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) June 12, 2016
From the West, St. Louis FC provided us with a beauty this weekend via Seth Rudolph in their 7-1 thrashing of the Tulsa Roughnecks FC, they sit in 6th, but just four points below the leaders CO. Springs Switchbacks FC, Tulsa in last.
Another great week for US soccer all around.