This is U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann flying in a Torrance-made Robinson Helicopter over the South Bay and metropolitan Los Angeles. Klinsmann talks about how he likes to fly low in the video: wonder if he is aware of the controversy raging in Southern California over helicopter noise? Keep it down up there, Jurgen!
Meanwhile, a press conference with U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann and a player begins at 11:30 a.m. today here with live coverage of a training session set for 12:30 p.m. ahead of Saturday’s sold out clash against South Korea
Saturday’s coverage includes the team’s arrival in the stadium before the 2 p.m. game, Klinsmann’s post-game press conference and player interviews.
Conventional wisdom suggests that’s a real long shot, but 2013 MLS MVP Mike Magee — scorer of 21 goals last season — has made a habit of doing the unlikely:
“I have a chance,” said Magee in this interview. “I’m motivated to leave a footprint on this team.”
Of course, given that Jurgen Klinsmann has been watching the likes of the unproductive like’s of Sunderland’s Jozy Altidore in England this season — although he is admittedly on one of the offensively weakest teams in the EPL — maybe he is searching for suitable replacements.
Meanwhile, here’s the complete roster with the usual suspects on board including Galaxy players Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan.
U.S. Soccer has more facts and figures breaking down the squad here, including the fact 15,000 tickets have been sold for the opening U.S. game of 2014 in Carson.
There’s no column today since I took advantage of the long weekend to take a few days off, but here are few links to get us caught up:
It’s fair to say longtime South Bay resident Sigi Schmid could well be sleepless in Seattle for a few nights at least until his job prospects with the Sounders and their demanding fan base are resolved one way or another.
The injured Landon Donovan wasn’t called up for the pair of upcoming U.S. games, but the Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez got the call, while Robbie Keane will feature for Ireland despite a longstanding Achilles issue and A.J. DeLaGarza is likely to make his Guam debut despite making two previous appearances for the U.S. in exhibition games.
The U.S. completes World Cup qualifying tonight, while Landon Donovan remains a doubt for the Galaxy’s next two games Wednesday against the struggling Montreal Impact and Sunday against the Earthquakes.
The MLS schedule takes a break this weekend for the final qualifying rounds of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The U.S. play their final two qualifiers, although they are already through to Brazil, of course.
More on the U.S. status is in this week’s column, which was written before the Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez withdrew from the U.S. roster this morning because of a strained hip sustained in Sunday’s SuperClasico. The injury could be a blessing in disguise for the Galaxy: it means the dominating defender could be available for next Wednesday’s visit by the Montreal Impact.
The game not only had five goals, but Hawthorne’s Gyasi Zardes had the kind of game he has hinted at all year, Landon Donovan reached yet another MLS milestone and Dave Sarachan went 2-0 as Galaxy coach (ahem).
Reinvigorated U.S. stars Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson grabbed the goals and the glory, with only striker Clint Dempsey faltering slightly under the spotlight’s glare, missing a second half stoppage time penalty that would have made the scoreline even more emphatic.
“We’ve always said that Landon is an important part of our team,” Klinsmann said of the Galaxy playmaker. “The things that he went through were his decision. We were totally fine with that, but he also had to understand that he wasn’t getting anything for granted. He had to work his way back, to fight his way back, and that’s what he did. In the Gold Cup to start with, and now coming here, he understands the message that nobody has a spot guaranteed.
The stricken faces of the Mexicans Tuesday said it all, out of ideas tactically and wilting mentally under the pressure and expectations of a rabid nation, while the Americans added grit and determination to bright endeavor and execution. This isn’t a team, it’s a system, with squad members fulfilling role coach Jurgen Klinsmann demands despite the absence of such regulars as Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.
“They were understandably under a lot of pressure,” Donovan said of El Tri. “We knew that if we kept the game at zero or we were ahead, it was going to play into our favor. Once we got the goal, we could see in their eyes it was going to end in a victory for us.”
It was a magnificent evening watched by more viewers in the U.S. on ESPN than any other World Cup qualifying game in history that represented another major step forward for the sport domestically and internationally. And Carlos Bocanegra et al were happy in Upland, too.
Had Mexico staged the game, 110,000 crazed El Tri fans would have crammed into daunting Azteca. Instead the U.S. opponents got a taste of their own medicine, delirious U.S. fans standing the entire game in much modest 25,000-capacity (or so) Columbus Crew Stadium.
It was an environment that at once exemplified the game’s gulf in popularity in the two nations, but also the spirit and emerging skill of the upstart, underdog Americans who once again proved it has Mexico’s number in games that really count.
Notable: The U.S. is 12-5-4 against Mexico since 2000.
“Step-by-step, we’re getting closer to taking the game to the opponents,” Klinsmann said. “We’re not sitting back and reacting to what happens. We want to take it into their half. Every game is different. We know that, too, but I think we’ve made big progress in terms of tactical variation and in terms of commitment both ways of the game offensively and defensively.
“The players know what we expect tactically. The players know there’s another guy behind them in every position, that if he doesn’t give everything he has the next one comes in and steals his spot. Therefore, there’s more competition and I think if you look at the entire picture they can be really proud of themselves.”