Weekly Soccer Column: Reeling from criticism after string of poor results, U.S. seeks to rebound Sunday in Carson against Panama

clintstubhub Striker Clint Dempsey, above, and his USMNT teammates, training Monday in Carson, are seeking a new start to the new year Sunday at StubHub Center after a string of poor results culminated in a road loss last weekend to Chile to begin a pivotal 2015 (Photos by Staff Photographer Robert Casillas).

USMNT Jurgen Klinsmann, despite being taken to task by MLS Commissioner Don Garber for his criticism of the league and how it dovetails with the aspirations of U.S. Soccer, continued Monday to point out the shortcomings of American soccer culture ahead of Sunday’s clash with Panama in Carson.

“The (foreign) teams that have peer pressure in their environment allow themselves to drop 10 or 20 percent not 30 or 40 percent; that is the difference with what we deal with in the aftermath of the World Cup,” he said. “Their club environment puts them back on their toes. … Our players are not there yet educationally or mentally to understand the dynamic so they lose their spots on their European teams or they drop 30 or 40 percent in MLS.”

For more on Sunday’s U.S.-Chile game Sunday in Carson, read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

BradleyStubHub USMNT midfielder Michael Bradley wasn’t interested in talking to all of three reporters Monday at the USMNT training camp in Carson. Will he do his talking on the field?

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Weekly Soccer Column: Gold Cup, Olympic qualifying, Women’s World Cup cram 2015 international calendar

Need a cheat sheet to keep up? Check out this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column

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Weekly Soccer Column: U.S. Men’s National team opens annual camp in Carson ahead of hectic 2015

The U.S. Men’s National Team, already facing a busy year, opened their annual camp in Carson Monday with two young Galaxy players on the roster for the first time, defender Oscar Sorto and striker Gyasi Zardes from Hawthorne.

I was just in awe,” Zardes told reporters Monday after his first training session of the email he received from national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann inviting him to camp. “When I was in Hawthhorne this was a dream. It’s what you dream about.”

Sorto had a similar reaction to his U.S. call-up.

Klinsmann has spoken of the importance of players like Zardes’ attacking partner on the Galaxy, Robbie Keane, and recently-signed EPL veteran Steven Gerrard and their role in grooming up and coming youngsters:

“Theyre doing a tremendous amount of work getting our players to another level. These are the guys we need in the United States to help our guys grow even faster.”

Zardes agreed:

“Robbie Keane is a phenomenal player and I’m a student of the game and I just try to learn as much as I can from the veterans like these guys who are on the national team,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to seeing Keane, who had brief spell at Liverpool, and Gerrard reunited with the Galaxy.

For more, read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

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Weekly Soccer Column: LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers speaks out against FIFA World Cup bigotry and homophobia

South Bay native Robbie Rogers was once so in denial about his sexuality he could not admit to himself that he was gay.

That’s changed and now the LA Galaxy defender has found the courage to speak out against the kind of FIFA stupidity illustrated above by the clueless Sepp Blatter. For more, read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar.

And happy holidays.

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Weekly Soccer Column: New England Revolution face uphill battle against history, destiny and LA Galaxy in MLS Cup Sunday in Carson

MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper – Bill Hamid (D.C. United)

Defender – Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)

Defender – Bobby Boswell (D.C. United)

Defender – Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)

Midfielder – Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)

Midfielder – Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)

Midfielder – Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)

Midfielder – Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)

Forward – Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)

Forward – Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)

Forward – Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC)

The stage is set for the LA Galaxy-New England Revolution MLS Cup Sunday in the South Bay in this week’s column.

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Weekly Soccer Column: MLS Playoff Shootout in Seattle Sunday for LA Galaxy-Sounders

1124_SPO_LDN_L-GALAXY-WLGoal scorer Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho celebrate Sunday as the Galaxy take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of the Western Conference Final Sunday in Seattle. (Photo by Staff photographer Will Lester).

MLS2014Read more about the series with a place at MLS Cup at stake in this week’s column.

Incidentally, the Galaxy expect both A.J. DeLaGarza and Marcelo Sarvas, both subbed out Sunday with injury concerns, to be available for selection this weekend.

The Galaxy will face Chad Marshall on the Seattle back line; he was named MLS Defender of the Year today, while his Galaxy counterpart DeLaGarza was named MLS Humanitarian of the Year.

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Weekly Soccer Column: LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane sits out national team duty to ready for MLS Western Conference Final Sunday against Seattle Sounders FC

Sometimes it’s actually instructive when you don’t get around posting your column until after an event occurs that is included in the column.

Which is how it went today with the U.S.-Ireland game that sent the Americans scuttling back home across the Atlantic 4-1 losers.

Frankly, we didn’t learn much from a youbng, make-shift team: the U.S. ships goals in the second half and can’t score either, although to be fair they hit the woodwork twice.

Oh, and the Galaxy’s robbie keane, if fully fit, would have ripped apart the U.S. back line of left back Timmy Chandler, right back Fabian Johnson and the due of Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron in the middle.

That’s it for this year for the USMNT: their record was 6-5-4.

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