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Early Friday Kickaround

*Perhaps an early hint at the massive Honduran support at Soldier Field tomorrow night for the World Cup qualifier against the USA? While strolling through Miami International Airport today to board a connecting flight home, I spotted at least 10 travelers in blue-and-white Catrachos jerseys arriving in the States and presumably destined for Chicago. My guess: 70 percent of the more than 50,000 at a USA home qualifier will not be rooting for the USA.

*With Brian Ching unavailable again because a hamstring injury, USA Coach Bob Bradley has called up Colorado forward Conor Casey (league-best eight goals).

*Insider loyalists knew this was in the works weeks ago, and now it's official: Real Madrid will kick off its MLS tour with a friendly vs. Toronto FC on Aug. 7. Real will play D.C. United two days later at FedEx Field. BMO Field will be covered with natural grass.

*Chivas USA reserve keeper Dan Kennedy (eight starts last year) will be sidelined six to nine months after undergoing surgery to repair a knee ligament.

*French midfielder-forward Sonia Bompastor of the Washington Freedom was named WPS player of the month. The Freedom, boasting a five-game unbeaten streak, visits first-place Los Angeles on Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel, 6 p.m. ET).

*Is the Osorio Era nearing an end? Since winning the Western Conference title last fall, the Red Bulls are 3-10-3 in all competitions and 0-5-1 in league road games with no goals scored and eight conceded -- which is a bit of a problem when you've just begun a stretch of seven away matches in nine outings. Two of those three wins have come against San Jose (last place in the West). Last night's 2-0 loss at RFK was their third straight to D.C. this season. Read Paul Tenorio's match report. Watch Santino Quaranta's goal:

By Steve Goff  |  June 5, 2009; 2:24 AM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF , D.C. United , Freedom , MLS , Spain  
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Comments

Casey, huh? Probably no playing time, but it will be fun for him to join the team for a while.

Lots of folks have been ragging on Bob for his stupid line-up in CR. Unfortunately for me, his line-up was identical to the one I wanted. I suppose that makes me unfit to coach the MNT (and the first blog poster ever to admit it!).

Still, go with who played well. Lets give Torres, Davies, and Adu the minutes in Chicago.

Posted by: troy6 | June 5, 2009 4:15 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see casey get the call. Should have been earlier. I actually appreciated Lalas saying last night something like 'you have guys playing now versus guys who haven't played since the last nats game. Why?' seriously, why have a domestic league in season if you aren't going to call up guys on hot streaks?

Posted by: joshuaostevens | June 5, 2009 4:35 AM | Report abuse

"... My guess: 70 percent of the more than 50,000 at a USA home qualifier will not be rooting for the USA."

Again, NICE JOB OF CREATING A NEEDED HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE US SOCCER! Oh, oh, yah that's right, it REALLY REALLY DOESNT MATTER. The Nats should be able to win in ANY atmosphere...Talk to me again when and if the US loses the 3 points on Saturday.
I got it! If the US is the fortunate 4th place team that has to play either Uruguay or Colombia, lets play that game in Miami. Yah, that's the idea - it will make for a great atmosphere. LOL
Again, thanks US Soccer. ;>

Posted by: Granitza78 | June 5, 2009 5:57 AM | Report abuse

Is it me or does "Wicks" turn into 'Wells" in Paul's post-match DCU article this morning??

Posted by: mbetka23 | June 5, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

i think torres is a must in the us midfield. He moves the ball well, and usually gives it to the right person. I dont want to see maestroni in the middle again. His is too old now i believe. We need a better scrap guy if we are going to be competitive anywhere outside the america's. Edu i thought played well in costa rica. His skills will be needed against honduras. I doubt we will see him though. I thought dempsy played horribly in usa's lose in costa rica. He needs to play in the middle i think. Or in front of the forwards. He can hold the ball and he is big. he should play like dcu's gomez/fred. Anyone notice how abnoxious the costa rican crowd was?

Posted by: g3impreza | June 5, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks BB. You could've made that callup before I set my fantasy lineups.

Posted by: Reignking | June 5, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Has Osorio been dumped? Is Sven in?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | June 5, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

*Sonia rules.

*June 6 is upon us. Isn't that commemorative game in France coming up soon?

Posted by: OWNTF | June 5, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Conor Casey is on fire and a good callup. I think he's more dynamic and versatile than Ching and Cooper. Conor has pace and creates his own chances, rather than wait
for a provider.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 5, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Give Connor some minutes, Bonehead Bob! As mentioned earlier, why play all the people who are coming off injuries or are simply sitting the bench?

Posted by: lrg1231 | June 5, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Dan Kennedy is a good keeper and a really good guy. He was a player who was key in helping the Puerto Rico Islander go from a debut A-League franchise that got pummeled to a repectable club in the division.

And Dude had the guts to go to Chile and work on his game down there with Second Division club Iquique.

He's been nicked up but after he gets healthy again, he will find opportunities because he is is not only talented but works hard, has the heart of a lion and is more than willing to pay his dues.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 5, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Sonia Bompastor has been quite the revelation. I freaking love the player.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 5, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The Freedom game against the Sol on Sunday should be good. The #1 team vs #2 (even if the Freedom are 9 points behind - Sol have played 2 extra games). It is also the #1 defense vs #1 offense - something is going to have to give. I think Freedom have the edge, especially with this being the third game for the Sol in 9 days.

Glad Sonia won that award - she deserved it.

Posted by: soccerfan80 | June 5, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

How do we qualify for MLS playoffs this year? Top from each division and next 6 best? Top 2 in each div. and next 6 best? Anybody know?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | June 5, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The Sol also have a very good French player, Abily. Freedom drafted a 2d French international but I guess she decided not to come . . .

Has Johanna Frisk played a single minute for the Sol?

Posted by: OWNTF | June 5, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Sorry if this was mentioned on earlier threads, but did anyone notice how the ESPN announcers for last night's game identified Emilio's flick on the goal to N'Silu? I never heard them correct this. But on my non-HD ESPN channel, it was kind of hard to identify each of them from far-away camera shots without seeing the number, given the similar hair styles.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | June 5, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

So is there anywhere other than Columbus that the USMNT can schedule a game against a Central American country that won't result in a pseudo-"away" match? We should have large crowds for these qualifiers if at all possible, but where do they go? Which larfe stadiums provide us with home field advantage? Not to Seattle because if the turf. Not to D.c or Chicago because of the away support. More games in Nashville then? St. Louis? I would love to hear some constructive answers.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | June 5, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

How many caps does Casey have?

Posted by: Reignking | June 5, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

9Nine9: they haven't changed it yet to benefit LA, so we'll have to wait and see.

Posted by: Reignking | June 5, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@ Reignking True that! Ok, LA is in if and when David Heckham arrives.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | June 5, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"So is there anywhere other than Columbus that the USMNT can schedule a game against a Central American country?"

Anchorage.

Posted by: delantero | June 5, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Wicks reminds me of Perkins - started shaky then settled down and turned into a fantastic keeper.

Posted by: roadkit | June 5, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas would work, too.

Maybe we can play on the blue turf.

Posted by: Reignking | June 5, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone yet posted a link to this Steinbog item from Thursday's paper?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/03/AR2009060303532.html

Posted by: universityandpark | June 5, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Obama's great-uncle was not on the tour of Buchenwald, but will be joining the president for Saturday's ceremony in Normandy, France, celebrating the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

Any updates on that soccer game? When is that?

Posted by: Reignking | June 5, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Hasn't Portland proven in the past to be a good home crowd for the US? Could Rio Tinto be another?

Posted by: combedge | June 5, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

""I would love to hear some constructive answers. ""
Oh, uh . . . . hmmm .. .uh . . . . yeah . . uh . . .

Perhaps we should just get used to it. Central American countries (and most others in the world) love soccer more than the US population does. But they don't have a zillion other sports to play there either.

Posted by: delantero | June 5, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Not to Seattle because if the turf.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | June 5, 2009 9:21 AM
__________________________________________

If Costa Rica can schedule WCQ matches on turf, so can anyone else. It may not be pretty, but all options must be considered.

Posted by: universityandpark | June 5, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The blue turf in Idaho is an intriguing idea. Would the Aryan Nations be more averse to an influx of: (a) Central Americans or (b) US citizens who love soccer?

Posted by: OWNTF | June 5, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

To continue the issue of avoiding local immigrant populations, here are some more cities to eliminate based on the opponent:

v Ireland in Boston
v China in San Francisco or Seattle
v India in San Jose or New Jersey
v Sweden/Norway in Mpls./St.Paul
v any African nation in DC
v any country in New York
v England, Spain, or Italy in Eurosnobville

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 5, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I, like everyone else, was appalled by the USMNT performance against costa rica. But many of the comments ripping players overall quality really have gone to far. Players, sadly, often have bad games and when several players have bad games the same night the team collapses. I was watching a rebroadcast of the Bolivia v Argentina game that arguably the best team in the world lost 6-1. The poor performance of Messi and Tevez does not have anyone claiming they are awful players.

The classic debate of starting someone who is playing every day for their club team vs. someone riding the bench has gotten a bit exaggerated. Everything being equal of course I would go with someone who is playing regularly. However, everything is not equal. We have players who have made the jump over the pond because they are better then most of our domestic players and European teams have taken notice. When they are on the bench its not like they are laying about eating doughnuts. They are competing every day in tough training for spot on the field. In fact, for many clubs in Europe the high quality of players and tough training matches is a higher level and more demanding level of competition to MLS games. And for the record one does not really strengthen there argument on anything soccer related by quoting Alexi Lalas. In terms of constructing a team all he know is how to destroy a club.In terms of Dempsey he is one of those players who is playing regularly for a competitive team in the top league of the world. But yet, unfortunately, he had a bad game. For sat I think you stick with him, torres (who I don't think should have been subbed out against costa rica), donnovan and Alitidore. Bradly is already out with the accumulation of yellows. I think you change both outside backs. Beasley and Wynn's where both fairly dreadful (putting aside Wynn's overlapping runs). I am intrigued by pairing Davis with Altidore up top .

Posted by: nyjer1 | June 5, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Could Rio Tinto be another?
Posted by: combedge
=================

Rio Tinto just backed out of a big mining deal and pissed off the Chinese government. So there's another place not to schedule a friendly v China.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 5, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps we should just get used to it. Central American countries (and most others in the world) love soccer more than the US population does. But they don't have a zillion other sports to play there either.

Posted by: delantero

I'm with you. I just don't care.

Posted by: Reignking | June 5, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

although i wish LDV or cat whitehill was wps player of the week (or maybe i'm just biased), i'm stoked sonia bompastor won player of the month. according to the wps website it was a first landslide victory, with fans, the media and the teams all voting for her (so i guess last month kelly smith didn't win them all). congrats sonia, very well-deserved!

Posted by: KG118 | June 5, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

If Goff bumped into Honduras fans in the Miami airport, presumably coming into the US from Honduras, it won't matter where the USMT plays if the opponent's fans will travel to the country to support them.
What we need are incentives (travel packages?) for US fans to travel within the country to support the team.

Posted by: NoMad3 | June 5, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I just want to say, I've been calling for us to play Fred centrally for a while now. I'm a GENIUS! A GENIUS!!!

Posted by: the_slammer | June 5, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

RK . . I care, I just think it's a generational thing. If we can keep MLS going, snag a few more Jose Torres (a R. Wallace, etc) in the U.S. player fold, and keep soccer interest alive . . we'll get more 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants to support the U.S.

The fact that a bunch of U.S. supporters braved Saprissa and, prior to that, El Salvador . . is something that would not have happened in Harkesy's day. I'm hoping for a 50-50 crowd this Saturday but think Goff is probably going to be right @ 30-70 a la RFK 2001.

Posted by: delantero | June 5, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I guess I "care"...I don't want us to play in LA, for example...but I'm more concerned about what happens on the field.

I've always had a great time in the WCQs I've been to at RFK...v. Jamaica and others...

Posted by: Reignking | June 5, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

f Goff bumped into Honduras fans in the Miami airport, presumably coming into the US from Honduras, it won't matter where the USMT plays if the opponent's fans will travel to the country to support them.
What we need are incentives (travel packages?) for US fans to travel within the country to support the team.

Posted by: NoMad3 | June 5, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

uhhh.
http://www.oleole.com/ussoccer/tickets-and-travel-packages

Posted by: DadRyan | June 5, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The Normandy match is on for tomorrow (D-Day) at 4PM. A US Air Force team from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany will represent the US against the local St. Pierre Eglise soccer club. See a poster for the match at http://picasaweb.google.com/JFrison/NormandySoccerJuly231944# I hear the town quite excited about the match. Wish I could be there but a third trip to France in 9 months just wasn't feasible. Let's hope for two US victories tomorrow!

Posted by: AlwaysBiking | June 5, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps we should just get used to it. Central American countries (and most others in the world) love soccer more than the US population does. But they don't have a zillion other sports to play there either.

Posted by: delantero | June 5, 2009 9:48 AM

Agreed. It's at the obvious point where you just have to say, it's not you it's me. Me being the US sports environment. You can't keep hiding these events (where they still get a good percentage of away fans). Just have to face facts - American soccer is not very popular amongst Americans.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 5, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: nyjer1 | June 5, 2009 10:08 AM
--------------------------------

who told you that you could be logical and fair on a blog? Insults, puns, song lyrics, vocabulary obsessions, and hysterical ranting are all that's allowed in these parts!

I shun you. (doo wop doo wop bop)

Posted by: troy6 | June 5, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Obama will drop by the soccer game :)

Posted by: Reignking | June 5, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Didn't the U.S. team have a 'Trinidadian' with a paulista accent that learned to play soccer juggling oranges in Port of Spain?

Posted by: ErickSp8 | June 5, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Casey is not only strong on the ball and a good finisher, but he's also remarkably good with his feet in tight spaces. I hope he gets significant time, otherwise why take him away from an important matchup for Colorado against Salt Lake on Sat?

Lalas has been a good commentator pregame and at the half. He's not afraid to lay into folks, and he isn't as biased as Harkes.

Anyway; here's hoping we pull this one out. It sure is amazing how the energy and tone of these posts have changed since before the CR game. Maybe that's a good thing. US needs to remember that we're not that great unless everyone works hard and together. Seems like the team goes thru this same issue during every qualifying round.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 5, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Knowing that Obama would be in Normandy, I actually contacted the USSF and the White House about the match....but to no apparent effect.

I've taken the liberty of posting a letter from Tom Neil to Jan Milders, the organizer of the match. Wing Commander Neil is a Battle of Britain fighter ace who not only was a great pilot but is a great writer. His letter tells the real story of the match - you'll enjoy it at lot.

See http://picasaweb.google.com/JFrison/NormandySoccerJuly231944#

Posted by: AlwaysBiking | June 5, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse


Uh, it's a guess, based on witnessing 10 fans. Let's not go ape-poopy.

I'm with delantero. Just deal with it (presence of "away" fans). That's America. Casual, patriotic fans aren't going to get too amped about a match against a nation with pop. 8 million, 1/10th of our per capita GDP, decimated by war, crime, disease, and natural disasters.

You want to drum up any serious anti-Honduras passion, play home games in Guatemala. Otherwise, count your blessings and suck it up.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | June 5, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Just have to face facts - American soccer is not very popular amongst Americans.

Posted by: Kev29
-------------------------------------------
Kev, I don't disagree with your premise but I will take it one further.

But rather than making US Soccer supporters feel like unwanted step-children, we must take into consideration that Americans don't normally show up to large numbers to see their national teams play when they are here in the States unless it is the Olympics.

Just look at the FIBA World Basketball Championships, World Baseball Classic, World Hockey Championships, ect. All of those were hosted here in the States in the last 7 years.

It is not just soccer. I just want people to realize that.

Yeah, our showing in the stands is disappointing. But so is seeing almost as many Venezulean or Puerto Rican fans at WBC game in Miami when they face the US.

Or seeing a lot of Argentines at a World Basketball Championship Olymp in Indiana when they are facing the US.

A lot of puck heads didn't even realize when we hosted the World Juniors.

Apathy for the national teams unless it is the actual Olympics taking place here or the actual World Cup transcends sports in this country.

When our baseball team feels like it is playing an "away" game in LA when when the US faces not only Mexico but Japan or Korea then it shows that the situation is bigger than just soccer...


Posted by: yankiboy | June 5, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"That's America. Casual, patriotic fans aren't going to get too amped about a match against a nation with pop. 8 million, 1/10th of our per capita GDP, decimated by war, crime, disease, and natural disasters."
-The Godfather

I just saw this after hitting the send button of my last post.

I suggest that it goes even further than the things that you cited.

We have poor US supporter draws against Japan in baseball and Italy in basketball.

And those are sports that we helped export...

Posted by: yankiboy | June 5, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@AlwaysBiking, that letter is superb, thanks, that made my day . . .

The Post had this article this morning about the continuing gratitude of the town mentioned in the letter

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/04/AR2009060404143.html

Posted by: OWNTF | June 5, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Good points, yankiboy

Posted by: Kev29 | June 5, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Edu i thought played well in costa rica. His skills will be needed against honduras. I doubt we will see him though.

Posted by: g3impreza | June 5, 2009 7:32 AM |

You mean Adu. Edu was in a hospital bed in London, recovering from knee surgery.

Posted by: fischy | June 5, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Hasn't Portland proven in the past to be a good home crowd for the US? Could Rio Tinto be another?

Posted by: combedge | June 5, 2009 9:35 AM |
-----------------------------------------------

You miss the point. For this round, the USSF was looking for bigger stadiums. They have to make money to support the program, after all.

Ultimately, the solution is for Americans to get really excited and snap up tickets when they go on sale. I'm not sure how many cycles that will take, but it could get there.

Yankiboy makes a good point with respect to other sports, but soccer is different. It's the one team sport where the international game is far more popular than the domestic league. There will come a day when US fans get pumped for WC qualifiers. There may even come a day when we start to care about the Gold Cup. Or not.

Posted by: fischy | June 5, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Conor Casey == Poor Man's Viduka (during his prime)

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 5, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

So is there anywhere other than Columbus that the USMNT can schedule a game against a Central American country that won't result in a pseudo-"away" match?

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | June 5, 2009 9:21 AM

I attended the qualifier years back in Portland against Costa Rica. Packed house and about 98% for the USA. I'd think Salt Lake, would work, too. Any large stadium is tough because it seems you can't fill a 75k stadium yet with USA fans. Sad but true.

Posted by: CDRHoek | June 5, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Rio Tinto just backed out of a big mining deal and pissed off the Chinese government. So there's another place not to schedule a friendly v China.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 5, 2009 10:14 AM

Didn't a Chinese team already play there and in Denver? When political protesters were shut down by stadium security at the behest of the guests to protect their virgin eyes and ears?

There's an idea. China can build a new stadium for DCU here in the District, but all fans must promise not to jeer without permission!

Posted by: CDRHoek | June 5, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes its Adu. im used to euro futbol too much. Anyhow i think the best U.S. games are against jamaica. RFK fills up with jamaicans to capacity. I saw the last game end in a draw. us scored first. jamaica scored to tie it up and the crowd was going crazy.

Posted by: g3impreza | June 5, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Another indication of the level of Honduras support---on our flight this afternoon from San Jose, Costa Rica to Chicago, I spoke to 3 Honduras supporters in blue on their way to the match (why they were leaving from San Jose instead of Tegucigalpa (which is closer to Chicago), I don't know).

By the way, my wife and I enjoyed our conversation with the Soccer Insider and Wife of Soccer Insider by the pool at the Marriott on Wednesday before the game.

We certainly did not enjoy the game although the Costa Rican fans were certainly pleasant enough---but then again, it is easy to be pleasant when your team is stomping the opponent.

Posted by: doublei | June 6, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

I've seen Conor Casey play in the Bundesliga, something Ching and even Brian McBride could not dream about--not to mention LD. He was going to be a mainstay in the USMNT before his serious injury. I hope that he is back. He is esp.good at interior passing.

Posted by: bechtoldpk | June 6, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

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