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Friday kickaround: World Cup, U.S. players, MLS

South African cartoonist Cuan Miles takes a poke at Sepp Blatter:

*Read my feature about South America's outstanding performance in South Africa and check the image of the cool front-page graphic accompanying the story.

*Germany's Philipp Lahm, on Argentina, the nationalmannschaft's opponent in Saturday's quarterfinal in Cape Town: "They are impulsive, temperamental and they don't know how to lose." Taking the high road, Argentine defender Martin Demichelis responded: "The best answer is during the game."

*Finally, vuvuzelas put to good use.

To read so much more.....

*The Insider told you in May that U.S. defender Clarence Goodson, whose contract with IK Start expires in December, would probably leave Norway this summer for a club elsewhere in Europe. Craig Sharon, his Washington-based representative, confirms that Odense in Denmark has made overtures.

Meantime, news on two Americans in the national team player pool who didn't make the World Cup squad:

U.S. defender Frank Simek has moved from relegated Sheffield Wednesday to League One Carlisle. ... U.S. forward Kenny Cooper broke his ankle in training with 1860 Munich and will be sidelined three months.

*USA Coach Bob Bradley threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Orioles-Athletics game in Baltimore. His family, which includes former major league catcher Scott Bradley, was "teasing me, saying, 'Make sure you don't short-hop it,' " he told after keeping the ball out of the dirt. "So I think they were watching. I can still throw a little bit."

*In a testy match at BMO Field, Toronto FC scored late to draw with the Houston Dynamo, 1-1. ESPN2 showed that match live and has added to its schedule the Sunday night encounter between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders -- Landon Donovan's return to MLS from the World Cup.

*Surprise, surprise: D.C. United is set to host yet another U.S. Open Cup match, should it defeat the third-division Harrisburg City Islanders in a July 21 quarterfinal. The next opponent would be the Columbus Crew or third-division Charleston Battery on Sept. 1 at Maryland SoccerPlex.

By Steve Goff  |  July 2, 2010; 3:45 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Americans Abroad , Argentina , D.C. United , FIFA , Germany , MLS , South Africa , U.S. Open Cup , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Bob Bradley, FIFA, Germany-Argentina, Sepp Blatter, South America, World Cup, vuvuzelas  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: D.C. United signs forward Pablo Hernandez (UPDATED)
Next: Netherlands vs. Brazil in World Cup 2010 quarterfinals


Nice front page on sports today.

Posted by: DCB23 | July 2, 2010 6:06 AM | Report abuse

"Europe has tough qualifying but you can also end up playing the Faroe Islands," he said. "South America has teams that are fit for a World Cup." Maradona is such a trip. He's been ODing on candor pills.

Posted by: glfrazier | July 2, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone enjoying the Maradona coaching extravaganza as much as I am? Still not sure who I want to win that game, or who I think is going to win.

Posted by: grubbsbl | July 2, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Separated at birth:
Andres Cantor and Julio Cesar.
Diego Forlan and Kristine Lilly.
Robinho and Chris Rock.

Let's go Mannschaft, do the world a favor and send arrogant Maradona home (Cuba)

Posted by: GeneWells | July 2, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for the excellent article, Goff. I think the performances of the South American teams in this World Cup have been a pleasant surprise, just as the crashing and burning of the big European teams has been. I am looking forward to an all-South American Final Four.

And yes, I for one am greatly enjoying the Maradona Coaching Extravaganza, grubbsbl. My fantasy match of the century-- Argentina w/Maradona vs Portugal w/Mourinho. Imagine the drama!

Posted by: AmishJim | July 2, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Kenny Cooper in England now, or was that just a loan deal?

Posted by: nairbsod | July 2, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Just goes to show how far behind the USA is on almost every level with South America with FUTBOL. They eat, breath, and sleep soccer which to them is their LIFE. USA has all these other distractions for athletes and it is hard to keep the ones playing our sport 100% attention as well. Article after article I would see US national team players talking about the NBA finals, how they like to play John Madden on the xbox, etc. In South America there are no other sports on a bigger stage. Sure there are variations of the beautiful game such as indoor and beach soccer but they are exactly that, variations that include all the skills you need to play the game. Basketball and volleyball are definitely played in the inner cities and beaches as well, but nothing, NOTHING comes close to soccer.

It is tough to be a US national team fan. It is also tough at times being an MLS fan. We have to deal with realities, that are slowly changing in our favor, that our skill is not the best, our league is not the best, and our national team is not the best. Are we getting better? Yes. Is the rest of the world still light years ahead of us? Yes. Is the USSF changing its ideology fast enough to be contenders? I don't think so.

Posted by: elfelixg | July 2, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

nair: just a loan

I caught about 15 minutes of that MLS match last night. It was awful. It looked like a bunch of guys just kicking the ball around, popping it up in the air, hoping that a guy would get to it. Just awful compared to what we've been seeing.

Posted by: Reignking | July 2, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

"Just awful compared to what we've been seeing."

Apparently you didn't see the US Open cup match.... :)

Posted by: JkR- | July 2, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

U.S. defender Frank Simek has moved from relegated Sheffield Wednesday to League One Carlisle.

Do MLS salaries compete with English Division III teams?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | July 2, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

What Maradona said about UEFA qualifying could also be said about Concacaf. We have more than our share of islands and tiny countries. USA and Mexico are pretty much automatically in, with the minnows fighting for the third spot. And now every one is out of the finals...

Posted by: Senor_Funk | July 2, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to speculate but is Bob Bradley coming back to United?? You heard it here first. (wink)

Posted by: zizou1972 | July 2, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post's very own Marc Thiessen's views on soccer! Enjoy:

Just another reason why my Post subscription has gone bye-bye this year. Why did they hire this idiot?

Posted by: Hoost | July 2, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I caught about 15 minutes of that MLS match last night. It was awful. It looked like a bunch of guys just kicking the ball around, popping it up in the air, hoping that a guy would get to it. Just awful compared to what we've been seeing.

Posted by: Reignking | July 2, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse


This is the fundamental challenge MLS faces as it seeks to capitalize on World Cup fever in the States. Yes, Americans are into soccer like never before and it would be great for our domestic league to capture that momentum. But the reality is that fans who are expecting a continuation of World Cup style soccer will be sorely disappointed by MLS -- not just the inferior play, but the half-full stadiums, the summer heat, etc. Not sure what MLS can do about it, but it's a dilemma.

Posted by: jofij | July 2, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Hoost | July 2, 2010 8:46 AM

Dang it, clicked on the link, ergo giving that doosh a page view.... ;)

Totally moronic...

Posted by: JkR- | July 2, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Get your Yayas out! Out to Man City.

Good acquisition, but overshadowed at Barca.

Posted by: Reignking | July 2, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Go Charleston!!!!!!

I would love to play for the Coffee Pot Cup twice in one season!!!!!!!!

Hey Paul T. - has Boskovic started practicing with the team yet? how does he look?

Posted by: dcufan | July 2, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Graet to hear about the Galaxy 4th going being on ESPN -- I was disappointed that it was on DK originally.

Posted by: Reignking | July 2, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I caught about 15 minutes of that MLS match last night. It was awful. It looked like a bunch of guys just kicking the ball around, popping it up in the air, hoping that a guy would get to it. Just awful compared to what we've been seeing.

Posted by: Reignking |

I watched the entire match. Ugh. Look, I grew up watching NASL and dreaming of becoming a professional player (didn't happen). Those matches weren't necessarily better quality soccer, but there were more of us watching! And that was all the soccer there was to see.

Today I watch MLS matches many times because I feel obligated to do so (unless it is a DC United match). MLS players for the most part do not look like they want to play quality soccer (or they are unable to do so). Most matches are just not exciting to watch. My children refuse to watch MLS matches-- they prefer UEFA CL, EPL, German, and Spanish league matches instead. And thanks to cable tv and the internet, they can do that.

At least this WC has turned them on to South American soccer. Yes, many of the biggest names on the South American national teams play club soccer in Europe, but the quality of play, and the hunger and pride you see on display in most matches makes MLS look like a pale imitation. No wonder MLS can't sell it's product to the younger generation. Kids play soccer in this country but they don't watch it.

Posted by: AmishJim | July 2, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

What a great matchup this morning. I'm betting on a Dutch treat.

Posted by: Reignking | July 2, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I love this Thiessen guy. Anything to make a point, I guess, is that the rightie mantra? I'm not even gonna comment on his blog's title.

Socialist sports, hmmm, lemmee see. Can you say revenue sharing, salary cap, luxury tax, mid-level exception? If so, you can say NFL, Major League Baseball, and NBA. Professional sports in the USA are about as free-market oriented as the Farm Bill.

Posted by: loosek | July 2, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Coffee Pot Cup at Plex would be AWESOME!!!

Delivering Edible Arrangement to BP a month or so back to BP HQ in the District I was bummed I couldn't pour a bunch of crude all over the thing instead of the usual chocolate dipped strawberries...

Watching part of Toronto/Houston all I could think of was how much we could have used Ching in South Africa. The haters won't be having it, but I think it was a mistake to Tread on Ching. Dude caught a head butt from that punk Sanyang right before he put the ball in the back of the net. Jozy would have dropped to the ground and done a barrel roll... ;)

Bummer about Kenny Cooper. First day back in training and he breaks his ankle??? Ughh. Get well soon.

Posted by: DadRyan | July 2, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I watched the whole Houston/TFC game and had a different take than all of you:

I thought so before the fact, and moreso after the fact: How in the he** was Brian Ching not in South Africa?

Posted by: OWNTF | July 2, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

. . . . different take than all of you except DadRyan . . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | July 2, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I, too watched the entire Toronto-Houston game, and thought it was pretty damn exciting. Was the technical quality on par with a typical Mexican or Argentine league game? No, of course not.

On the other hand, I can count on more than a few hands how many Copa Libertadores games (a cut above a simple Mexican or Argentine league game, one would think) I've seen that have been 90-minute long hack and dive fests, with whistles going off every 20 seconds. It ain't always like that, but when it is, it's pretty unwatchable.

Posted by: loosek | July 2, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

From the 15 I saw (first 15 of the second half), Houston didn't even have the ball, so I can't comment.

Posted by: Reignking | July 2, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse


Is that pronounced national man shafts? :)

Posted by: JasonSparks | July 2, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: DadRyan | July 2, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

How did the lowly Orioles get Bob, in front of what, 10G? Yankees? Nats? The O's? Come on. That's incredible.

Posted by: lgm6986 | July 2, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

@Dad and OWNTF -- I never understood leaving Ching off, but I'm not sure he would have seen the pitch ahead of Buddle. So, in that sense, maybe it made more sense to bring Findley, who offered something different. That said, I would have liked to see Ching play. He's not McBride, or even Wynalda -- but, he's the next best finisher for the USA around the net....the best target guy we've got now. Jozy is developing as a holding forward, but he still can't finish in tight quarters.

Posted by: fischy | July 2, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Well so much for one prominent South American team...

Posted by: Juan-John1 | July 2, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

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