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Thursday Kickaround

The USA's upset of mighty Spain wasn't the only soccer news yesterday. The Washington Freedom played at Boston, SuperLiga continued, there were two MLS matches, a Mexico friendly and Copa Libertadores. (Not to mention South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in Buenos Aires looking for, um, Boca-River tickets.)

*Let's begin in Atlanta, where more than 51,000 at Georgia Dome watched Mexico rout Venezuela, 4-0, as Giovani Dos Santos scored twice.

*Read a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the multi-sport Bradley clan (Bob, Michael, Scott and Jeff).

*An image of the Washington Post sports section's front page and a link to my long-distance match report.

*Confederations Cup today:
Brazil vs. South Africa, 2:30 p.m. ESPN, Telefutura
(tape on ESPN2 at 9 p.m.)

*The Washington Freedom continued to struggle against the Boston Breakers with a 1-0 loss before 3,105 at Harvard Stadium. The Freedom is 4-4-4 overall and 0-2-1 against the Breakers, who surpassed Washington for second place in WPS. In another league match, first-place Los Angeles (9-1-4) continued to pull away from the pack with a 2-1 victory at St. Louis in front of 3,014.

*New York's road winless streak in MLS reached 21 with a 2-0 loss at Toronto on goals by Pablo Vitti in the first half and Dwayne De Rosario in the second. The Red Bulls (2-11-4) are the worst team in the league, while TFC moved within a point of D.C. United for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Earlier in the day, TFC traded defender Kevin Harmse to Chivas USA for allocation money. In Commerce City, Omar Cummings continued his surge with an 84th-minute goal to give the Colorado Rapids a 1-1 tie with Dallas. Cummings had two goals and an assist Saturday against DCU.

*In SuperLiga, New England (1-0-1) was reduced to 10 men in the first half, took the lead, then settled for a 1-1 draw with Kansas City (0-0-2) on an own goal in the 85th minute before 5,378 at Foxborough. Atlas (0-0-2) and Santos (0-1-1) played to a 0-0 tie.

*Stay tuned this morning for the announcement of the 23-man USA Gold Cup roster.

*In the first leg of a Copa Libertadores semifinal, Cruzeiro defeated Gremio, 3-1. "It could have been 8-4," Cruzeiro Coach Adilson Batista said. Estudiantes hosts Nacional tonight (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Espanol). On a troubling note, Elicarlos of Cruzeiro, who is black, accused Gremio's Maxi Lopez of calling him "a macaco" (monkey).

*USL on TV tonight: Puerto Rico at Charleston (8 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel).

*USA-Spain video:

By Steve Goff  |  June 25, 2009; 9:02 AM ET
Categories:  Confederations Cup , Freedom , Gold Cup , Libertadores , MLS , Mexico , Spain , U.S. men's national team , USL , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Poll: Greatest USA Upset?
Next: USA Gold Cup Roster


For you Atlanta people...I left downtown last night around 7:15, and the traffic coming down the connector and 75 was incredible. Combine the Mexico friendly with the Yankees (although that had started at 7) and you get a traffic nightmare.

Posted by: Reignking | June 25, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I looked forward to the short walk down the driveway for this morning's paper. Front page, above the fold, not a wire report. The Post likes soccer.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 25, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

“It will be an advantage for Spain because they will have had an extra day’s rest and the more you rest, the better you play,” he (Luis Fabiano) is quoted as saying by News24. “Egypt beating Italy and the US qualifying, those have been the surprises. I do not think there will be others."

I will be happy if the US just keeps Fabiano from scoring.

Posted by: Southeasterner | June 25, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I loved the highlights, since they showed how absolutely critical Howard was to this win. MOTM, no doubt.

Posted by: roadkit | June 25, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

(Not to mention South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in Buenos Aires looking for, um, Boca-River tickets.)

Perhaps, but he ended up Racing home to save his career. Though it looks like he'll be flying Independiente for the time being.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 25, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Reignking | June 25, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Soccer Insider logged over 500 comments on yesterday's threads. Steve, is that a record or have there been days when we were more prolific in complaints?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 25, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Maxi Lopez, huh? I can see the resemblance to George Allen, especially in the way their careers kinda fizzled despite early hype.

Posted by: fischy | June 25, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Jozy will be staying at Villarreal; Nihat leaving for Besiktas

Posted by: Reignking | June 25, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

It took the US beating Spain for Mexico to get their act together. These dudes are shameless.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 25, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Wait...was Sanford actually able to GET tickets for the game? He must have found a great connection down there. I am sure it took some extra(-marital) effort to track down those tickets.

Shoot. Can't think of any more.

Posted by: TwinCity | June 25, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

What Spain did wrong, from the view of a Spaniard, in English...

Posted by: Reignking | June 25, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

So, just to recap:

We beat Spain, 2-0.

They had names like Torres, Xavi, Villa, Ramos, Casillas.

We had names like Clark, Altidore, Dempsey, Howard.

Oh Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 25, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

And ESPN has added the US win over Spain as a nominee for "The Best Upset" ESPY award.

Posted by: addick | June 25, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, Reignking. Though I think the author is overthinking. Play that game 10 times, Spain wins 7 or 8, we tie one or two, and we win once.

Yesterday was that once. US Soccer should enjoy the moment, and build from it. But the powers-that-be should not take the win as a sign that we're equal with the big boys, now. We've simply reminded the world that, if they take the Americans lightly, the Americans can win.

Looking forward to today's game. South Africa is playing some exciting soccer; I expect Brazil will have a challenging afteroon.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 25, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed his Sergio Ramos analysis...

Posted by: Reignking | June 25, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

interesting article, thanks Reignking!

two things struck me from reading it:
1) he is over-analyzing things. possibly it is an attempt to rationalize something too painful to just accept as-is? i am really dubious that bradley was offering bait to sergio ramos...after all, the dude subbed in conor casey again!
2) the usa is definitely at least 100 years behind europe in thinking about soccer deeply, and all-consumingly. when he was talking about playing a 4-4-2 with cesc on the right and "fake midfielders" and stuff like that, my head was spinning! i just want bradley to not play beasley and mastroeni, not play with a single striker formation, and make decent tactical subs. i do not think the usa team has the personnel for such sophisticated considerations as spain. possibly that is for the best though, as i already spend too much time thinking about soccer!

Posted by: dfunkt | June 25, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Oh Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 25, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse


Gee thanks Jack Edwards...UGH!!!

Posted by: combedge | June 25, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Beasley has no business on this team...he is too skinny and small for international soccer.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | June 25, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Another thanks for the link Reignking.
I stayed up and watched the replay last night. I really could watch it a third or fourth time. Altidore's strength has finally shown through with the world watching, I hope he gets some more playing time in Spain real soon! Dempsey is finally pulling the heroics he's shown at Fulham for the US. I wish the guy could just be more consistent! I'd nearly given up on him.

Landon Donovan? It's very refreshing that I haven't seen much of the usual Landycakes crap talk. He's been incredible.

Can anyone here clear up exactly what the schedule is like on Sunday? I'm a little confused about the tv listing at, will there be replays shown later? Camping trip may make it tough for me to watch live.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 25, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Believe kick-off is at 14:30 hours.

Posted by: tfshea | June 25, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

(Not to mention South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in Buenos Aires looking for, um, Boca-River tickets.)

If he was a good SC governor he would have been in Argentina scouting for the Charleston Battery.

Posted by: song219 | June 25, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"I Speak Soccer: a documentary about the international language of pickup."

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 25, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

A couple more to ramp up the comment numbers on this anti-climactic day:

Another player from Morons United pipes up.

And a Brit fires back.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 25, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse


Actually, the US did a bit of the "fake midfielder" act during the game. When Alvarez talked about the US luring Ramos into the attack, part of what he meant was the play of all 3 players that were at left midfield. Donovan, Dempsey, and Feilhaber all pinched in, leaving a lane for Ramos to attack because he can't help but to go forward if there's space. Bocanegra stayed home for the entire game, so the defensive cover was strong. Additionally, Ramos isn't a dribbler, so despite always charging forward he doesn't actually add much beyond an extra body and a potential crosser (which, given the size mismatch in our favor in the box, was an acceptable risk).

I don't know about Alvarez's article blowing us all away. Maybe articles abroad are more consistently aware tactically, but trust me: the level of discourse here isn't far off the rest of the world. You still see people calling for firings on the back of a bad result. You still see people who don't understand what they're watching beyond who works hard and who scored the goal.

It might also be that I miss Soccernet's former Spain correspondent Phil Ball, who wrote consistently superb, fascinating articles before heading to Dubai for a year. Honestly, look up some of his old stuff. The man is brilliant. Alvarez is not bad, but I seem to have a small problem with all of his articles. Case in point: Alvarez refers to Altidore's goal, which only got past the hand of Casillas due to power, as "half-hearted". Anyone seeing that shot honestly would never call it half-hearted. It's a minor quibble, but it happens all the time for me.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 25, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Benny Feilhaber starting? He showed a nice touch in setting up the second goal?

Posted by: jxc45 | June 25, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I read the article early this morning and found Alvarez to be too much of a fan to take his column seriously.

My friend in Madrid e-mailed me this about del Bosque:

This is about the first time the newspapers do not demand the death penalty reinstated for the coach. Actually journalists seemed like mature people, asking for nothing to be changed.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 25, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

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