By DAN KARELL
While fans and the coaching staffs of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Germany, Ghana, and Portugal are fretting at the difficult task ahead, many of the players likely to be involved have expressed excitement.
Ghanian and Schalke 04 midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng started the ball rolling right after the draw was completed by tweeting a picture of his brother, Jerome, and revealing his excitement to play Jerome and the German National Team.
In the coming hours, other reactions poured in from around the world from players such as Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Bendikt Höwedes, Asamoah Gyan, and even legends such as Luis Figo.
See what the players had to say after the jump:
By DAN KARELL
Out of all the thousands of possible permutations in the 2014 World Cup draw, the U.S. Men’s National Team arguably ended up with the worst draw out of all 32 teams.
As if being placed in Group G with Germany, Ghana, and Portugal wasn’t tough enough, the U.S. plays all three of their group stage matches in the north and northeast of Brazil, where they’ll be greeted with high temperatures and stifling humidity. With the nearly 9,000 miles of travel that the USMNT will have to take during the group stage alone and the difficulty of their opponents on paper, it would be easy for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to admit that he’s worried about his team’s chances.
Instead, Klinsmann is doing his best to think on the bright side, citing the team’s record 2013 calendar year as proof that they’re ready to take a step forward.
“I’m not worried at all,” Klinsmann told U.S. Soccer about being in one of the toughest groups in the tournament. “I’ll just take it the way it is and we’re going to prepare the best way and we’re going to be well prepared for the World Cup. We’ll build up confidence and believe that we can get good results to get into the next round. We’ll do our homework on Portugal, Germany and Ghana.
“We’re excited about this, big time. That’s where you want to be in a World Cup. It’s a difficult draw but we’ll find a way to go through it.”
By JUSTIN FERGUSON
While catching red-hot Bayern Munich is definitely Borussia Dortmund’s ultimate goal, they will face a different kind of tough challenge Saturday in their drive back to the top of the Bundesliga table.
Third-place Dortmund sit three points behind second-place Bayer Leverkusen, their opponents for Saturday’s clash at Signal-Iduna Park. Both clubs have bounced back from humiliating shutout losses and will enter the six-pointer with some momentum in their race to catch the defending league and European champions.
The day’s action will start in England, where defending English Premier League champions Manchester United look to rebound from their midweek home loss to Everton in their trip to face Newcastle United. Man United’s local rivals, Manchester City, will visit a Southampton side that has come crashing back down to earth after a hot start to their second EPL campaign.
In the final EPL match of the day, USMNT striker Jozy Altidore will try to build off his midweek goal against Chelsea when his Sunderland squad hosts Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs are hoping their midweek victory against Fulham can end their slide down the league table and give them an extra boost in their quest to return to the Top 4.
If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump):
By DAN KARELL
While some Americans have struggled to settle with their new clubs in Europe, Alejandro Bedoya seems to be settling in just fine.
The U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder scored the game-winning goal in a vital road match against French giants Olympique Marseille on Friday, pushing Nantes up to fourth in Ligue 1. In the 16th minute, Bedoya was played a pass from the left of the box and with his left foot, hit a shot that took a deflection and dribbled slowly into the goal. Marseille’s goalkeeper Steve Mandanda looked to be caught flat footed on the shot and didn’t make an effort to keep the ball from crossing the line.
It’s Bedoya’s fourth goal of the season in all competitions for Nantes since he joined the French club last August. Bedoya also scored in Nantes’ 2-1 victory over Valenciennes last Tuesday.
Here’s a video of Bedoya’s goal on Friday:
By FRANCO PANIZO
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Real Salt Lake could very well be at full health on Saturday.
Set to take on Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park in the 2013 MLS Cup Final, RSL head coach Jason Kreis will have most if not all of his players available. Forward Alvaro Saborio (hip flexor) and left back Chris Wingert (fractured rib and pneumothorax) have recovered from their injuries, have practiced with the club the last couple of weeks and should be available for the championship match on Saturday afternoon.
“We believe that (Wingert) is fully fit and ready,” said Kreis. “He’s trained now for the past (13) days fully and looks like he’s going to be in contention for both the 18 and starting 11.”
“Alvaro also trained the exact same amount as Chris Wingert. For the last two weeks, he’s trained fully and I believe that what we’ve seen so far has put him in contention to be in the 18 and the starting lineup.”
The one player who is an injury concern is Devon Sandoval. The rookie forward picked up a knock in training on earlier in the week and will likely be a game-time decision.
“Devon has picked up an injury as of (Wednesday’s) training session. He’s also a player that played through some injury in the last match against Portland,” said Kreis. “He will be very touch and go and it will be a decision we will make some time after the (Friday) training session into Saturday as to whether or not he’ll be available.”
Here are more notes from MLS Cup:
By DAN KARELL
By now, you’ve heard the news.
Earlier today, the U.S. Men’s National Team was drawn into Group G of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where they’ll face Germany, Ghana, and Portugal in what will be a major test for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the entire squad.
But don’t fret. Even if you’re disappointed with the results of the draw in relation to the United States, there are still plenty of other top-notch matches to watch at next summer’s tournament. For starters, sticking in Group G, you have Germany and Ghana facing off, which could see the Boateng brothers playing against each other again, with Kevin-Prince lining up with Ghana and Jerome suiting up with Germany.
The opening match of the World Cup features Brazil against Croatia in Sao Paulo on what will surely be an emotional day for the entire country as the Seleçao host the World Cup for the first time since 1950. Also in the opening days of the tournament, viewers will be treated to a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands in Group B.
Here are 10 World Cup Group Stage matches you won’t want to miss, in no particular order:
Photo by Garrett Cleverley/Soccer by Ives
By FRANCO PANIZO
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - It could have been worse.
That was the overall message from members of the U.S. Men’s National Team following Friday’s 2014 World Cup draw that saw them land in Group G alongside Ghana, Germany and Portugal. Some of the players said the U.S. is in the tournament’s Group of Death, but still kept a positive outlook on the difficult draw that seemed inevitable as soon as Germany was paired with Ghana.
“This is what the World Cup is about,” said Clint Dempsey. “It’s about playing the best teams and we’ve got a good group as far as that’s concerned, and I think we still have the quality if we play our best ball that we can get out of the group. It’s just making sure that we do that and try to get the most out of every game and not wait until that last game and need other people to do favors for you.
“At the same time, looking at that group, we think it’s going to go down to the last minute for everybody.”
Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
The draw for the 2014 World Cup was not kind to the United States.
The U.S. Men’s National Team was handed one of the most difficult groups in World Cup history as they were placed in Group G with Germany, Ghana, and Portugal, with matches in the north (Manaus) and northeast (Natal and Recife) of Brazil. In addition, the distances between the venues they’ll play in and their home base in Sao Paulo are vast. The U.S. will likely end up traveling nearly 9,000 miles in the group stage alone.
Group G is filled with plenty of story lines, from USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann facing his native Germany to the never-ending rivalry between the USA and Ghana.
Here’s a closer look at the outcome of the rest of the draw:
By DAN KARELL
It may have only felt like a few minutes to us, but Hannover defender Steve Cherundolo’s three minute cameo against last Sunday marked his return from injury for the first time since May.
The long-time U.S. Men’s National Team right back has been dogged by knee problems in the last 12 months, and has undergone surgery on his left knee three separate times in 2013. Thankfully, he says, the injury problems are all behind him.
With the knees everything is okay again,” Cherundolo told German publication BILD. ”I’m 34-years old and have made over 500 official appearances, you always know your own body.”
Fans at the HDI-Arena in Hannover last Sunday gave their club captain a rousing ovation as he entered the field in the 87th minute of the Red’s 2-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt. It was a moment that Cherundolo is very thankful for, and with the positive result, has him hopeful for the club’s fortunes to turn around.
By ALAN HAINKEL
In what will be weather more suited to playing ice hockey on a backyard pond (Saturday’s forecast high is 24), Sporting Kansas City will try to win their franchise’s second MLS Cup, having won their first in 2000.
This time, however, they will be playing in front of their home fans, in what will be the club’s 36th consecutive sellout. They will also be trying to do something that hasn’t been done in Kansas City since 1985, winning a league championship at home, when the Royals won the World Series.
Despite what could arguably be called the biggest game in club history, Sporting Kansas City is trying to maintain a sense of normalcy through the group by staying active in the community. As an example, several players attended the league event at Ronald McDonald House where the basement was remodeled with a soccer theme in just 10 days.