World Cup

28 May 12:12 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Once again, it was the man in the No. 10 shirt that played the hero for the U.S. National Team.

Only this time it wasn’t Landon Donovan, it was bold Norwegian-American midfielder Mix Diskerud who proved decisive in the Americans 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

In his first match donning the No. 10—a decision that U.S. Soccer insists is not finalized—Diskerud had an immediate impact after coming off the bench after the our mark. In the 75th minute, the midfielder found himself at the right place at the right time as he pounced on a rebound created by a Michael Bradley shot and gave the Americans their first goal in their 2-0 win.

Such clutch scoring has been a hallmark of Donovan’s career and Diskerud offered the USMNT a glimpse of life without the USMNT’s all-time leading goal scorer in the first match of their “Send-Off Series” prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Although Diskerud knows that the decision for him to don the No. 10 in Brazil is not set, the midfielder is relishing the chance to wear the number.

“It’s an honor for me,” Diskerud told reporters. “If you look back at all the players who’ve been wearing No. 10 – Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna and Landon Donovan – so for me, I’m just sort of borrowing it. I’m for sure going to play with Landon again, so he’ll get it back then. No. 10 is just a number, but I understand that a lot of people see it as more than that.

“But I don’t play for the number on the back,” he added. ‘I play for the U.S. crest on my front chest.” 

27 May 4:11 pm

SAN FRANCISCO— Omar Gonzalez will look to make his case to be one of the two starting center backs for the U.S. National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Tuesday’s friendly against Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park.

Gonzalez has returned to training with the U.S. after suffering a knee injury against the Colorado Rapids in May, and was named to the 23-man squad for Brazil last Thursday. Whether or not he’ll start for the Americans is a point of contention, however, as he’ll face stiff competition from Geoff Cameron and John Anthony Brooks for his spot alongside Matt Besler in the USMNT backline.

As part of the continuing World Cup coverage on LAGalaxy.com, I’ll be covering Tuesday’s friendly from San Francisco and will provide reaction from Gonzalez following the match.

Do you believe that Gonzalez will get on the field against Azerbaijan?

Share your thoughts below. 

23 May 11:53 am

It was no surprise that Landon Donovan's exclusion from the U.S. National Team's 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was the hottest topic at Friday's press conference on the campus at Stanford University. 

During the nearly 30 minute long press conference, Klinsmann stated that he felt that other players were a "step ahead" of Donovan at the time being but was quick to mention that the Galaxy forward is eligible to come in as an injury replacement by virtue of the stand-by list. Klinsmann also addressed the incendiary tweet by his son Jonathan which directed at the Galaxy forward. 

Donovan will be available for Sunday's LA Galaxy match against the Philadelphia Union according to LA head coach Bruce Arena

Check out Klinsmann's press conference below.

15 May 6:32 pm

World Cup fever is upon us and in the build-up to next month's tournament in Brazil, ESPN has given us yet another riveting advertisement for the action. 

On the heels of their popular "I Believe" ad which focused on the U.S. National Team, the new offering is entitled "The World Cup is Coming Home."

Check it out below.

 

14 May 3:54 pm

LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan is currently away on international duty but before he departed for U.S. National Team, he spoke with SB Nation in an interesting interview about his hopes to make the U.S. World Cup roster. 

13 May 4:17 pm

 CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez admits that the left knee injury suffered two weeks ago left him a bit nervous, but now that he’s on the U.S. National Team’s 30-man preliminary roster, he’s looking to make the most of his opportunities.

In my latest story for LAGalaxy.com, I speak to Gonzalez about his injury recovery and what it means for his goal to reach the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Now that Gonzalez is on the U.S. preliminary squad, he’s expected to contend for a starting role which is a spot that he’s held alongside Sporting Kansas City center back Matt Besler for much of World Cup qualifying.  With less than a month before the tournament, Gonzalez is excited about the chance to develop even more chemistry with the Sporting center back.

“In the end, it’s going to be up to Jurgen for who he wants paired up in the back, but my experience with Matt Besler is that I really enjoy playing with him. He’s very confident on the ball and is a great defender,” Gonzalez told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday. “We have a great chemistry on the field and this camp is only going to make things better. We’re going to be around one another every day for a month before the first game and we can really work on things to shore up the back line.

“This camp is very crucial to building relationships all over the field, not just Besler, but with my right back, my left back and Howard,” added Gonzalez. “Increasing all those relationships and know that you know what everyone is going to do so that you don’t have to think about it and can minimize mistakes.”

As for what he believes that the team needs to work on ahead of their June 16 clash with Ghana?  Gonzalez believes that there are multiple aspects of the game that the U.S. must tighten up ahead of their trip to Brazil.

“We need to stay compact, we need to stay organize and be louder on the field,” said Gonzalez. “Those are all things that can get a little bit better to make sure that you’re on top of things. Little things like that which can always get better make a big difference.”

10 May 9:38 am

LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez is expected to be among the 30 players named to U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for his preliminary World Cupr roster and in the latest episode of the "brazuca Around the World" series by adidas, he discusses the team's motivation heading into Brazil. 

Check out the short video below. 

09 May 12:56 pm

Mexico unveiled their 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and headlining the squad is former New York Red Bulls defender and frequent nemesis of the U.S. National Team Rafael Marquez.

El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera named his squad on Friday which includes Manchester United forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Villarreal attacker Giovani Dos Santos, Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, California-born Toluca midfielder Isaac Brizuela, and of course, Marquez. The 2014 World Cup will be the fourth for the Mexico captain, who is expected to become the first player to captain a nation at four World Cups.

Although Marquez is no longer the player who was a star at FC Barcelona years ago, LA Galaxy head coach and former U.S. national team boss Bruce Arena believes that he’s still vital for Mexico.

“At his age, they’re highly dependent on his experience more than anything. He’s not no-longer a great one-on-one defender, but he has experience so if he can fit in their system and communicate and organize a team then he’s extremely important. They’ve gotten surprisingly good play out of him in the last year and he’s a competitive and fiery player.

 “It’s hard for me to say this, but I wish him the best," Arena added. "He’s been good for the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico because without him, we wouldn’t have had some of the excitement that we’ve had."

Another one of Marquez’s traditional adversaries Landon Donovan agreed with Arena’s assessment about the former Red Bulls man’s importance to El Tri.

“They’ve been a better team with him. I think a big problem for them last year when they went through their struggles was their lack of leadership. They didn’t have guys on the field that you could really lean on. He’s been very helpful them,” said Donovan. “He’s not nasty. Like a lot of players, sometimes he loses his head a little bit, but he’s always been relatively respectful after the whistle, but he has moments like all of us.”

Mexico’s full squad is below.

GOALKEEPERS: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)

DEFENDERS: Rafa Marquez (Leon), Diego Reyes (Porto), Miguel Layun (America), Paul Aguilar (America), Andres Guardado (Leverkusen), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Francisco Rodriguez (America), Carlos Salcido (Tigres UANL)

MIDFIELDERS: Carlos Pena (Leon), Hector Herrera (Porto), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul), Juan Carlos Medina (America), Luis Montes (Leon), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon)

FORWARDS: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Raul Jimenez (America), Alan Pulido (Tigres), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna)

08 May 12:47 pm

ESPN's award-winning series 30 for 30 took an inside look at the U.S. National Team's road to Brazil in their upcoming feature series that looks into the team's 100 days of preparation before the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

I gave my own prediction of who I believe will represent the team once they head to Brazil in a story for LAGalaxy.com

Check out the ESPN trailer, which features Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez below.