USMNT opens 2016 with win over Iceland

Photo by Micah Escamilla/The Sun

Photo by Micah Escamilla/The Sun

The young guns looked good for the U.S. men’s national team in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Iceland, but veteran Jozy Altidore surely impressed as well. The 26-year-old scored once and got the hockey assist on Michael Orozco’s goal in the 59th minute.

The Toronto FC forward was active up top for the United States during his 75 minutes on the StubHub Center pitch, making dangerous runs and drawing four fouls. Injuries have hampered Altidore in recent years and he said he is focused on maintaining his health to have a successful year.

“I’m just trying to work that much harder, to be that much fitter. To me, the biggest thing is health. trying to keep the injuries to a minimum because that has hurt me int he past couple of years. Continue reading

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Another reason to avoid paying attention to USMNT Camp Cupcake in Carson: it’s an Olympics identification camp

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The Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes was included in the roster for the annual USMNT camp in Carson that starts next week as was a whole bunch of youngsters with an average player age of just 24.

“We start out our year with a January camp where we give the opportunity to the next wave of players to come in and make an impression and see if they are ready to step it up into international level, if they are ready to understand what it takes to become a National Team player,” said Klinsmann. “This camp will be a little bit different because we’re going to mix it almost half-and-half with senior players that are already National Team players or some that are older and maybe get the chance to play their first cap, and a lot of the Under-23 players that hopefully qualify us for Rio de Janeiro. This will be more of an identification camp and a development camp. We want to give those players a head start into their very busy year 2016, but we also want to make it clear to them that it’s a huge opportunity that you have to understand what it takes to step it up and to become an international-level player.”

From the Galaxy press release:

Zardes earns the call up after making 19 appearances for the USMNT in 2015, tying Claudio Reyna’s 1994 record for most caps by a U.S. player in their debut year with the National Team. He earned his first-ever call up to the USMNT during last year’s January camp and made his first start at StubHub Center in a 2-0 win over Panama, where he provided the game-winning assist to Clint Dempsey. In all, the Galaxy Homegrown Player score three goals and added three assists for the U.S. in 2015. Last season in MLS play, Zardes finished the campaign with six goals and four assists, bringing his Galaxy total to 26 goals and 10 assists in three seasons with the club.

Read more here.

The U.S. concludes camp with friendles against Iceland (12:45 p.m. Jan. 31 ESPN2) and Canada (7:15 p.m. Feb. 5 Fox Sports 1, UniMás, UDN).

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Best reason for a Las Vegas road trip: LA Galaxy play San Jose Earthquakes there Feb. 13, four days after playing Club Tijuana in Carson

monteFrom Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Photo by Jeff Bedford.

The LA Galaxy will host the Xolos at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at StubHub Center before taking on the Earthquakes 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at 9,334-capacity Cashman Field, a minor league baseball stadium.

Tickets to the game against the Xolos go on sale Jan. 11.

The Galaxy previously announced a Jan. 31 friendly against Armenian club FC Shirak in Carson.

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Brazil and Mexico to play Copa America Centenario games at Rose Bowl in Pasadena next June

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Brazil and Mexico are seeded teams that Copa Centenario organizers announced today would play in two of three scheduled tournament games at the Rose Bowl next summer; the nations’ opponents and the teams that will play the third game in Southern California will be announced early next year when the final draw is made.

 

Brazil, the seeded team in Group B, will open its group stage in Pasadena on June 4, and Mexico, the seeded team in Group C, will play at the Rose Bowl on June 9.

The United States and Argentina are the other two seeded teams in the tournament. Argentina earned the top seed of Group D from being the highest FIFA-ranked nation in the Americas, while the United States grabbed the Group A seed as the host nation.

The U.S. men’s national team will open the tournament in Santa Clara on June 3, with its other group matches coming in Chicago on June 7 and in Philadelphia on June 11.

Seattle, New York/New Jersey, Foxborough and Santa Clara will all host quarterfinal matches, with Houston and Chicago getting the semifinals.

 

From the press release:

The 2016 Copa America Centenario is the historic centennial edition of Copa America – the South American championship – and will be staged outside of South America for the first time. The tournament will feature six teams from the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football and all 10 teams from the South American Football Confederation.

From CONCACAF, host United States and Mexico are automatic qualifiers, while Costa Rica (2014 Central American Cup winner) and Jamaica (2014 CFU Caribbean Cup winner) qualified with regional championships last year.

The final two teams from CONCACAF will be determined in a double-header playoff set to be played Jan. 8, 2016, in Panama City. Trinidad & Tobago will face Haiti, and Panama squares off against Cuba with the winners qualifying for the Copa America Centenario.

The South American field for the tournament features Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Uruguay has been crowned champion of the Copa America a record 15 times, while Chile won its first title at this past year’s edition, which it hosted.

Full details of the tournament are here.

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U.S. Men’s National Team to play not just one, but two StubHub Center exhibition games in early 2016

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Double your national team pleasure in early 2016.

The U.S. Men’s National Team, which traditionally plays its first game of the year in Carson, will play two game just days apart in early 2016 against Iceland (12:45 p.m. Jan. 31) and Canada (7:15 p.m. Feb. 5), U.S. Soccer announced today.

Tickets for both games go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.

The U.S. hasn’t played Iceland in two decades, while it hasn’t lost to Canada in 35 years.

“Iceland is one of the up-and-coming soccer nations in Europe,” said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “They have been really impressive in qualifying for the European Championship for the first time, and they have earned huge compliments for their youth player development. Their players are now spread across the big leagues in Europe.”

“As we know from our past meetings, Canada is a difficult opponent that is not easy to break down. It’s a good experience to play against them, particularly for some of our younger players. They started off on the right foot in World Cup qualifying, having won at home and picking up a point on the road in El Salvador, so this will be a good challenge.”

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100 Percent Soccer Column: FIFA is parasite rather than promoter of world soccer

blatter Criminal mastermind? Sepp Blatter and his cronies have subverted the world’s game propelled by greed (AP Photo).

The American media — this columnist included — hasn’t weighed in much on the slowly unfolding FIFA bribery scandal. It is complex, the story is still unfolding, many Americans don’t care about soccer anyway and even those that do find their eyes glazing over at the mere sight of acronyms like CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.

But the events of the last week — again largely out of domestic sight, especially locally with the horrific shooting in Southern California dominating headlines — have the scandal visiting new appalling lows that make the governance structure of soccer a putrid mess.

Read more in this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

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LA Galaxy to play Armenian champions FC Shirak Jan. 30 in pre-season game at StubHub Center

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For the second consecutive year the Galaxy will face Armenian club FC Shirak in a pre-season game in Carson.

Last year’s game drew a crowd of more than 12,000 with many from Southern California’s large Armenian community; the Galaxy won 2-1.

Tickets details for the 7 p.m. Jan. 30 game have yet to be announced.

Here’s more on FC Shirak:

Under head coach Vardan Bichakhchyan, Shirak are currently in third place (3-1-3, 21 points) through the first half of the 2015-16 Armenian Premier League season. They are led in goals by Armenian Davit Hakobyan and Ivorian Konan Odilon, who have each scored four goals during the campaign. Shirak, who won the 2013 Armenian Super Cup and reached the Second qualifying round of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League, will appear in Los Angeles ahead of the start of the second half of their season, which is scheduled to being in early March.

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Pasadena’s Rose Bowl chosen as venue for biggest soccer tournament in U.S. since 1994 World Cup

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Pasadena, Calif. – October 9, 2015: The USMNT in preparation for their 2015 CONCACAF Cup match against Mexico at the Rose Bowl.

In an expected move, the Rose Bowl was selected today as one of nine U.S. stadiums that will host the 16-team 2016 Copa America Centenario.

The Galaxy also announced today that 2016 season ticket holders will receive access to an exclusive private sale for tickets to games played at the Rose Bowl.

From the press reease:

The 2016 Copa America Centenario is the historic centennial edition of Copa America – the South American championship – and will be staged outside of South America for the first time. The tournament will feature six teams from the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and all 10 teams from the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL)

From CONCACAF, host United States and Mexico are automatic qualifiers, while Costa Rica (2014 Central American Cup winner) and Jamaica (2014 CFU Caribbean Cup winner) qualified with regional championships last year.

The final two teams from CONCACAF will be determined in a double-header playoff set to be played Jan. 8, 2016, in Panama City. Trinidad & Tobago will face Haiti, and Panama squares off against Cuba with the winners qualifying for the Copa America Centenario.

The South American field for the tournament features Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Uruguay has been crowned champion of the Copa America a record 15 times, while Chile won its first title at this past year’s edition, which it hosted.

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