Tag - panama

Two Nights, Two Games, Two Worlds

Dick's Sporting Goods Park

Over the Memorial Day weekend I had the chance to attend two soccer matches at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park just outside of Denver, Colorado.  This was part of my super soccer weekend as along with watching the Champions League final, I attended the MLS match between the Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union on Saturday night and an international friendly between Brazil and Panama on Sunday night. Both nights were fun and entertaining in their own way but stark differences could be seen between the two nights in terms of the style of play and the crowd which made it seem I was in two different world’s each night even though I was sitting just sections apart.

The MLS match was a more suburban crowd while the International game was a more diverse and eclectic group. Both nights had about 11,000 in attendance but the vibe and feeling around the stadium was much different than the night before. You could tell the Brazil – Panama crowd understood the game better and reacted to all significant plays on the pitch not just those that resulted in scoring chances. This is just part of the soccer evolution here in the United States and as the game matures and people become more familiar with it they will learn the nuances of it and understand the game at all levels as the general public does with American football.   

On the field is where the differences between these two nights were the most noticeable. MLS loves them a long ball and on the very first kick of the night to open the Rapids and Union match, Philadelphia needlessly hoofed the ball down the pitch into the arms of the Colorado goalkeeper. While in the Brazil and Panama match the Latin style of play was in full effect with the ball being played on the ground. The only time the ball was in the air was on corners, deep crosses and when fullbacks were switching the flank. This is where the US based player needs to improve greatly if the United States is ever to truly compete at the highest international level. Brazilian and Panamanian players are comfortable receiving the ball in space or under pressure on virtually every spot of the field. Too often MLS players will hoof the ball to no one in particular when under any amount of pressure.

This all goes back to individual training, coaching and youth development. The Unites States and MLS need to increase their ability to improve players in these areas if they want to have a more nuanced and tactical style of game and player. That is the exact style of player USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann wants but this process (as we know) does not happen overnight. It will take a significant amount of effort and time for the US to improve in these areas.  I’m not saying the US and MLS needs to emulate exactly the style of other leagues around the world to be successful. Soccer is the beautiful game because there are a multitude of paths to success and the sport would be boring if everyone approached things the same way as we often see in American professional sports. It is clear though the level of on the ball skill for both teams and players needs to improve in order for MLS and the USMNT to take the steps forward we all want.

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USA Rolls Into Olympic Qualifying Semifinals

olym

Commerce City, Colorado – With the top of their group already clinched due to Canada drawing Cuba 2-2 in the previous match of the day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Under-23 USMNT made it a clean nine out of nine points in their Olympic Qualifying group stage with a 4-0 win over Panama. The first half saw both sides feel each other out in a pretty even opening forty-five minutes but the U-23 USMNT sprung into life thanks in the second half thanks to two subs.

Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter came on at halftime in place of the injured duo of Gedion Zelalem and Maki Tall and both had an immediate impact on the match with their energy and off the ball movement. The scoring was opened in the 51st minute with an own goal by Panamanian defender Fidel Escobar. Then the the two substitute strikers scored a goal apiece with Kisewetter netting in the 53rd minute and Morris in the 56th to make it 3-0 USA. Luis Gil added a 71st minute penalty kick (which he earned after being taken down from behind in the box) to make it 4-0 and it was smoothing sailing from there on out for the Yanks.

The U-23’s now move on to the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying semifinals in Salt Lake City where they will take on the loser of Mexico or Honduras (in the case of a tie the US would play Honduras) for a chance to advance to the 2016 Olympic games hosted by Brazil. The USA did not qualify for London 2012 and making it to Brazil has been a top priority for Jürgen Klinsmann and US Soccer.  Andreas Herzog is three for three so far as the U-23 manager in this tournament and he will hope to make it four for four and win the only game that matters in order for American Olympic hopes to come true this coming Saturday.

Scoring Summary

USA –
51′ – Escobar (OG)
53′ – Kisewetter
56′ – Morris
71′ – Gil
———————
Panama –
None

 

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Copa Oro Preview

The Two Daft Yanks are back after a brief break with a brand new website just in time for a Copa Oro Preview (AKA: Gold Cup). So sit back and relax to see if the Yanks think the USMNT can win back to back Gold Cups for the second time. On this week’s episode:

  • USMNT beats Guatemala in a warm-up friendly.
  • What is the best USMNT starting XI?
  • Surprise team of 2015?
  • Group winners and knockout stage participant predictions
  • And more!

Listen to/download the podcast below or listen on your mobile device via StitcherTuneIn or iTunes

Copa Oro Preview

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USA v Panama Friendly Reminder

The USA men’s national soccer team take on Panama on Tuesday, June 11th in Seattle with a 10:08 ET (7:08 local) kickoff. The game was originally set to start at 9:30 ET but ESPN (presumably) pushed back the kickoff as they are broadcasting Mexico v Costa Rica at 8:00 ET just before the USA match. Just wanted to make sure all USMNT fans knew of this change as many sources are still posting the 9:30 kickoff time.

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