Tag Archives: US Soccer

Vermes? Donovan? Who should replace Bruce Arena as USMNT manager? Five early names

By, Kyle Gibson

I once said if U.S. Soccer ever built a national stadium like England’s famed Wembley, they should call it Bruce Arena.

Now, that name will probably never happen after Arena presided over the biggest failure in USMNT history and resigned Friday. 

Before anyone even finished reading Brucie’s words in his published statement, many were asking who his replacement would be (myself included).

Here are five potential managers the US should take a look at. Three coach in the U.S. One coaches in the Premier League, but is familiar with the USMNT and the other is a dark horse that might not ever happen, but we’re all just having fun, right?

Peter Vermes, Sporting Kansas City

Peter isn’t a sexy pick, but he is consistently one of the best coaches in MLS and has established a signature playing style in KC. Every time I hear him talk soccer, I am blown away by his knowledge.

Knocks against Vermes might be that he has only won one MLS Cup in his tenure. However, Vermes has lifted three US Open Cups with Sporting, which may help out his case, since World Cups are played in a tournament fashion. (Still yet, the US did just miss the World Cup by failing in a group-stage type of atmosphere. Just trying to be fair.)

Also, fans may not want another product of MLS after Arena, just like there was some sentiment against another fancy-pants foreigner when Jurgen Klinsmann left.

Tata Martino, Atlanta United

Martino was suggested on Twitter and makes sense. He has Atlanta playing electric soccer in its first season and has huge international experience as the former manager of Argentina and FC Barcelona.

Martino, Messi and Co. failed to win two straight Copa Americas in 2015 and 2016, however, after being rim-stuffed by God and Chile twice in a row. At Barcelona, Martino committed the cardinal sin of not winning a single trophy in his only season. Even though he failed to win the ultimate prize in these two jobs, I think he is still a very good manager.

Keep in mind, foreign managers typically descend into madness in MLS with its insane rules and long-haul flights. Martino has kept his head so far, which says a lot.

Caleb Porter, Portland Timbers

OK, I included Porter because I had seen his name thrown around. He certainly brings an attractive style to the table, but I do not think he should be the U.S. manager.

I think his Portland teams have underachieved besides his MLS Cup victory in 2015 and he was the manager for one of the US-U23 teams that missed the Olympics and cost the team development.

Porter is a good MLS coach. I just don’t think he deserves a chance with the national team yet.

David Wagner, Huddersfield Town

This one makes a little less sense, but for Wagner, not the U.S. The German, former U.S. player (eight appearances) finally has Huddersfield Town in the Premier League and the Terriors are hanging tough in 11th place with scrappy, no nonsense soccer and brief moments of real skill.

Why would Wagner leave the rarefied air of the Premier League to take charge of a side missing the World Cup? I just don’t think he does. Maybe in a few years, if the job looks a bit more interesting, he might consider.

Landon Donovan, Chilling/Broadcasting

This is that dark horse I was talking about earlier. Donovan is the greatest player in U.S. history and knows a lot about qualifying for World Cups. He scored 12 in qualifiers and another five at World Cups. As a kid, I remember watching Donovan and seeing how fearlessly he seemed to line up in those road qualifiers in terrible conditions.

Still, Donovan has no coaching experience. That alone should probably disqualify him. But, just hear me out, if Donovan was named manager soon and given friendlies and a solid, experienced staff, could he grow into the job in time to start the next qualifying campaign? I might have just talked myself into this one.

Who do you think the U.S. should hire? Keep tweeting me your names, or mention them in the comments.


NEW: Bruce Arena Resigns as U.S. Soccer Coach

Three days after leading the US Men’s National Team to its most horrific loss in modern history, Bruce Arena resigned as the team’s manager.

Arena’s resignation was announced by the US Soccer Twitter account, which had gone dark since the 2-1 (Christian Pulisic was the goal scorer) road defeat to Trinidad and Tobago that saw the team fail to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Arena, who previously guided the squad to its most impressive World Cup outing in modern history (quarterfinals in 2002) and notoriously flamed out in the 2006 group stages, took over the team in November from Jurgen Klinsmann.

Fans, ex-players and media figures have also called for the resignation of US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati. As of Friday morning, there was no word on Gulati’s future.

New Post: Watch the goals from the #USMNT win against Honduras

  By, Kyle Gibson

The United States Men’s National Team steamrolled Honduras 6-0 Friday in San Jose to climb up to fourth in the FIFA World Cup Qualifying Hexagonal.

For most of the bountiful U.S. goals, quality matched the quantity. As Stefon might say, this game had it all: free kicks, perfectly weighted passes, first goals, Tim Ream, etc.

The Bay area’s own Sebastian Lletget scored the first goal on the night, and first of his U.S. career, after a Christian Pulisic shot was saved into his path.

Captain Michael Bradley then capitalized on the space Honduras gave him at the top of the box with a very good goal.

The effectiveness of U.S. legend Clint Dempsey was up in the air before Friday’s match, due to his long layoff stemming from heart issues. Deuce showed he could still ball, though, grabbing the third goal off a great Pulisic pass.

Pulisic turned from provider to scorer in the second half, needing just about 15 seconds at the start of the half to make the lead 4-0. This 18-year-old is special, but you knew that.


Dempsey added a fifth goal a few minutes later.

The man of the hour then sealed the deal with a free kick, completing his hat trick and rounding out the score at 6-0.

I’d say that’s a job well done for Bruce Arena and Co.

New Post: This American youngster is turning heads

Kellyn Acosta is on fire for F.C. Dallas, and that Dallas burn is being noticed by U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bruce Arena.

The 21-year-old midfielder/defender has four goals in all competitions so far in this early season, including three in CONCACAF Champions League play.

Acosta has scored some quality goals as well. Take a look at this free kick from Wednesday’s 2-1 win against Pachuca.

Acosta also scored a very good goal in the opening week of Major League Soccer action against the LA Galaxy.

Hell, Acosta even has the approval of current U.S. Golden Boy Christian Pulisic.

Acosta has been selected for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier games against Honduras and Panama. Scoring threats from free kicks have long been lacking in the U.S. squad. Acosta’s brilliant goal against Pachuca is promising. His feisty play is an encouraging sign as well.

Hopefully the youngster will be rewarded for his good stretch of form and get a serious look from Arena in coming U.S. matches. A tweet from U.S. Soccer said the manager and his staff are keen on several of the younger players.

Players have to earn Bruce’s trust over time, though, so Acosta’s good play will definitely have to be sharp while he’s with the USMNT as well.
In crucial World Cup Qualifiers, Acosta might not get a nod from Arena, but turning the manager’s head in training and continuing to shine at Dallas could set him up for more opportunities with the national team down the road.

New Post: Three keys for the #USMNT tonight against Costa Rica in Copa America

By, Kyle Gibson

After a subpar start against Colombia in Copa America Friday, the U.S. Men’s National team returns to action Tuesday at 8 p.m. against Costa Rica.

One would assume that Colombia will beat Paraguay, but the United States essentially needs a win to keep Costa Rica at one point, forcing a necessity for a Ticos win against Colombia in the final contest.

Here are three keys for Tuesday’s match-up.

1. Do not concede an early goal: 

This is a problem I didn’t include in the last game for fear of being redundant. After all, allowing early goals has plagued the U.S. in big games for years. Cristian Zapata’s eighth-minute goal from a corner again exposed the team’s penchant for allowing early goals, while also highlighting the team’s sometimes glaring set-piece weaknesses.

Costa Rica is one of the most solid teams in the tournament, so the U.S. can simply not afford to be chasing the game for long stretches.

2. No Jermaine Jones:

Jones completely lost the plot for much of his time in the game. Feeling a youthful vigor that doesn’t match his aging skill set, Jones would often rush forward, trying to take speedy Colombian defenders on. This led to plenty of dispossession and often seemed to confuse Jones’ teammates.

I would play Darlington Nagbe instead. Nagbe has been impressive in his appearances for the squad so far and has plenty of speed and technical ability.

3. Will the real Michael Bradley please stand up? 

I mentioned Bradley as a key in my last post too, but I sincerely believe that as Bradley goes, so goes the team.

Often, Bradley did not display his trademark judgement on Friday and his passes were not crisp.Hopefully for the Yanks, Tuesday will be much better for Bradley.

Bonus: We need to talk about Clint. 

Clint Dempsey just doesn’t have “it” anymore. The skill, above average speed and love of “trying s*&t,” as he used to call it, just does not seem to be present anymore in the 33-year old.

If healthy, the central spot Dempsey is filling would more than likely be filled by Jozy Altidore. I don’t think Jurgen Klinsmann will do this, but I think Bobby Wood would be much better in this spot.

Follow @KyleisGibson on Twitter. 


New Post: Three Keys for the #USMNT Tonight against Colombia in #CopaAmerica

By, Kyle Gibson

The United States men’s national team gets Copa America Centenario started Friday night on home soil against Colombia, which ranks third in the latest FIFA rankings.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad is 3-10-4 all time against Colombia, with its last win coming in 2005.

While games against 23rd ranked Costa Rica and 44th ranked Paraguay won’t be as rough on paper, both sides are still very strong. This makes the first match imperative if the U.S. doesn’t want to be watching the rest of the games in the stands or on T.V.

Here are three keys that could help the Nats score three big points against the mighty Colombians.

1. Sound connection between  center-backs

We aren’t entirely sure who the center-back pairing will be for Klinsmann, but this is nothing new. He has used five so far in World Cup Qualifying. In the two tune-ups for Copa, he used John Brooks and Geoff Cameron (Bolivia) and Brooks/Steve Birnbaum (Ecuador).

I think that Brooks is a lock, but the second slot should be mystery up until the release of the line-up. Hopefully for the U.S., the central pairing performs well together and stays together throughout group play.

2. Play Michael Bradley in a defensive midfield role

This is especially important against Colombia, which sports many dynamic play-makers that can control the game in the midfield.

Klinsmann seems to like Bradley as an attacking mid, but I like him further back. I had the pleasure to watch him live once for Toronto FC and he completely controlled the game in a deeper position.

Some pundits say Bradley is near world-class when he plays this position and I agree. His trademark tireless running and organization serves the U.S. better than a Bradley that plays in an advanced role.

3. Contain James Rodriguez, Carlos Bacca and Juan Cuadrado

James Rodriguez rose to world stardom at World Cup 2014, winning the Golden Boot and best goal award. I profiled his likelihood of joining Manchester United on Thursday.

Rodriguez could give an unsteady U.S. back line fits, as could Carlos Bacca.

Bacca, a striker for A.C. Milan, scored 18 goals in 36 matches. He also has three goals in the six Colombia World Cup Qualifiers.

Juan Cuadrado had an incredible season on loan for Juventus. I could talk at length about his first touch, burst of speed and craftiness, but the video below sums it all up. I am predicting Fabian Johnson to get the start at left back tonight in order to match Cuadrado’s pace.

Follow Kyle Gibson on Twitter, @KyleisGibson

Preview: Here are a few key stories to watch at the Women’s World Cup, plus my prediction for #USAvAUS

By, Kyle Gibson

Another summer. Another World Cup.

This one is arguably larger for the United States because the Women’s National Team should always be considered a favorite in the world’s game. With the World Cup finally back on North American soil, the women’s team is trying to return to glory and win its third World Cup trophy (and first in 16 years.)

Things will be tough, though, with the U.S. drawn into a strong group including Sweden (coached by former USWNT beloved boss Pia Sundhage), Nigeria and Australia.

Tonight’s opponent is Australia. Here are my thoughts as the U.S. Looks to take on the Matildas.

1) There is a cloud over the team with the recent ESPN Outside the Lines report on Hope Solo. Solo has been a distraction for years, but remains to be seen as one of the greatest goalkeepers the women’s game has ever produced. Can Solo keep her focus? Can the team rally around her? That will be highly important this evening. Shaky goalkeeping is not a good thing to have at a World Cup.

2) The leaders of the U.S. line, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, are not as sharp as in recent tournaments. Wambach turned 35 on June 2 and his been saving herself for this tournament. Morgan has been out due to injury and isn’t starting tonight. The scoring ability these two have shown recently may have been masking a few problems in the team as a whole. It will be vital to get goal production from these two.

3) Finally, a prediction. I think the U.S. will win 2-1. The scorers will be Wambach and Sydney Leroux. Leroux has gained notoriety over the years, but could be a household name by the time this World Cup is over. I think Megan Rapinoe will add an assist. She’s a dynamic player (my favorite on the team) that everyone should watch. She’s a joy.

Stay posted on Tuesday. I’ll break down the game.