Soccer: Clint Dempsey
Chicago Fire star Marco Pappa's free kick toward the upper-right corner in the 83rd minute left goalkeeper Tim Howard rooted to his spot, enabling the Chapines (0-1-1) to claim a point in their Group A home opener.
Clint Dempsey scored near the end of the first half for the Americans (1-0-1), who are atop their semifinal group on goal difference over Jamaica (1-0-1), which played a scoreless draw at Antigua & Barbuda (0-1-1).
ELSEWHERE: Hector Moreno nodded home a misplay by Salvadoran goalkeeper Benji Villalobos in the 82nd minute to lift Mexico to a 2-1 triumph in San Salvador. In the other Group B game, Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio scored a hat trick to lead Costa Rica past Guyana, 4-0. ... Canada gained a point in Toronto, playing Honduras to a scoreless draw in Group C. Panama is atop the group after beating Cuba, 1-0, on Nelson Barahona's second-half strike.
- THE NUMBERS
Guatemala 1 (Pappa 83), United States 1 (Dempsey 40)
Antigua & Barbuda 0, Jamaica 0
1. United States 1-0-1 (4-2 GF-GA) 4 points
2. Jamaica 1-0-1 (2-1) 4
3. Guatemala 0-1-1 (2-3) 1
4. Antigua & Barbuda 0-1-1 (1-3) 1
El Salvador 1 (Pacheco 65), Mexico 2 (Zavala 60, Moreno 82)
Guyana 0, Costa Rica 4 (Saborio 20, 26, 52, Campbell 77)
1. Mexico 2-0-0 (5-2) 6
2. Costa Rica 1-0-1 (6-2) 4
3. El Salvador 0-1-1 (3-4) 1
4. Guyana 0-2-0 (1-7) 0
Canada 0, Honduras 0
Panama 1 (Barahona 58), Cuba 0
1. Panama 2-0-0 (3-0) 6
2. Canada 1-0-1 (1-0) 4
3. Honduras 0-1-1 (0-2) 1
4. Cuba 0-2-0 (0-2) 0
The U.S. opened its World Cup campaign with a tighter-than-desired 3-1 victory over rising Caribbean minnow Antigua & Barbuda, and Carlos Bocanegra made one of the deepest impressions.
The American captain, 33, scored the first goal and gave a solid performance at left back, his former position -- and a problem spot for the U.S., at least on this occasion.
Bocanegra, circling to the far post, knocked home the remains of a Landon Donovan corner kick to give the U.S. and eighth-minute lead. It was the 13th international goal for the former UCLA star from Alta Loma, equaling Hall of Famer Marcelo Balboa's U.S. mark for defenders.
Balboa, from Cerritos, starred for the U.S. at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, was part of the 1998 team and made 128 appearances in a 12-year national team career. Bocanegra, who plays for Rangers in Scotland, has played 105 internationals since debuting for the U.S. in 2001.
Bocanegra is a center back who started his career as a left back, and he moved to the flank Friday when Jose Francisco Torres -- employed on the left with Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo unavailable because of injury -- went down with an ankle injury in the 54th minute.
If Johnson can't return from a calf injury in the next few days, Bocanegra is likely to start on the left in Tuesday's qualifier at Guatemala.
Donovan, the Galaxy captain from Redlands, set up two goals -- he also drew the foul for Clint Dempsey's penalty just before halftime -- in an otherwise quiet performance, and former Galaxy star Herculez Gomez netted the third goal for the U.S.
U.S. grades can be found here.
2014 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
United States 3 (Bocanegra 8, Dempsey 44, Gomez 72), Antigua & Barbuda 1 (Byers 65)
Jamaica 2 (Phillips 40, Johnson 46), Guatemala 1 (Pezzarossi 92+)
Mexico 3 (Salcido 11, G. Dos Santos 15, og Rodrigues 51), Guyana 1 (og Moreno 62)
Costa Rica 2 (Saborio 10, Campbell 15), El Salvador 2 (Gutierrez 23, Romero 54)
Cuba 0, Canada 1 (Occean 54)
Honduras 0, Panama 2 (Perez 64, 80)
CARSON -- Landon Donovan trained with the U.S. national team Monday for the first time in nearly nine months after joining preparations in Orlando, Fla., for three friendlies -- the first Saturday against Scotland -- in advance of next month's World Cup qualifying openers.
The Galaxy's captain and, with Clint Dempsey, the Americans' biggest star (he's played in three World Cups, has 138 caps and is the all-time U.S. leader for goals (46) and assists (47)) has played just twice under Jurgen Klinsmann, in the German legend's debut with the national team last August against Mexico and in the Home Depot Center loss to Costa Rica last September. He has since pulled out of three camps or trips because of injury or illness, most recently missing February's victory over Italy in Genoa.
Donovan, at 30, remains pivotal for the U.S. even as Dempsey's star ascends -- the Texan scored 23 goals in 46 games for English Premier League side Fulham this season -- and a new generation of talent, including Chivas USA newcomer Juan Agudelo and several German-born sons of servicemen, begin to assert themselves.
He's one of 27 players on Klinsmann's initial list for games against the Scots in Jacksonville, Fla., Brazil on May 30 in Landover, Md., Canada on June 3 in Toronto and qualifiers for 2014 against Antigua & Barbuda on June 8 in Tampa, Fla., and at Guatemala on June 12. That list will be trimmed Friday to 23, and Donovan is certain to be on that list.
Donovan spoke to media about his return to the national team following the Galaxy's SuperClasico defeat Saturday night to Chivas USA:
You haven't spent much time in camp with Klinsmann.
Yeah, it’s been a long time for me and I’m excited. I’m excited to see the guys, and excited to be a part of what they’re doing there. It’s hard when you’re looking from the outside in for so long, so I’m excited to get there. As always when you do this, you’ve got to refocus quickly and be ready, because no one cares what’s happening here [with the Galaxy's struggles], they care what’s happening there.
You've been away so long. Will it require some reintegration?
I know Jurgen well, and I know the guys well, so it’s not -- there’s maybe a few new players but I think it’ll be pretty seamless, and it’s not my first camp, so I’ll be fine. But it’ll take a little bit of time to understand ideas and philosophy and those kind of things, but I think Jurgen and I see the game the same way, so it’ll be pretty easy.
Rarely, if ever, has there been a day quite so golden for U.S. Soccer -- involving multiple teams -- as was Wednesday.
- The full men's national team beat Italy for the first time -- and in Italy, in Genoa -- as Clint Dempsey finished from Jozy Altidore's finish up top. Also splendid: midfielder Michael Bradley and German-born left back Fabian Johnson.
- The U.S. women's national team won its Algarve Cup opener in Portugal, dominating Denmark, 5-0, as Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan scored two more goals -- her 17th and 18th in 34 international games -- and assisted another by Hermosa Beach's Abby Wambach. UCLA products Sydney Leroux (goal) and Lauren Cheney (assist) also contributed in the scoring.
- The U.S. under-23 national team, preparing for the Olympic qualifiers in March, outclassed Mexico's U-23s, 2-0, in Frisco, Texas, on goals two minutes apart by Juan Agudelo and Freddy Adu.
One more international event to report, from Tuesday night. UCLA looked good in holding Mexico's under-20 national team to a scoreless draw at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys.
Donovan fed Argentine forward Denis Stracqualursi in the 71st minute as Everton thrilled its fans at Goodison Park by beating another EPL power.
The victory follows a 1-0 win Feb. 1 over first-place Manchester City and pulls Everton (9-10-6) to 10th place in England's top league.
Donovan collected a ball from Phil Neville on the right flank, cut inside past two defenders, played a through ball to split two defenders, and Stracqualursi's first-time shot caught goalkeeper Petr Cech's hand en route to the net.
That's six of Everton's last 10 goals over eight games, including F.A. Cup, that Donovan has assisted. The Galaxy star's second loan stint to the Liverpool-based club has two games remaining, including next week's F.A. Cup fifth-rounder against Blackpool.
The most memorable F.A. Cup showdown in memory, maybe ever -- for Americans, that is -- turned on two more brilliant balls from Landon Donovan.
The Galaxy captain created both Everton goals in a 2-1 fourth-round victory Friday over U.S. national teammate Clint Dempsey and Fulham, adding another chapter to his second glowing loan spell with the Liverpool club.
AP Photo/Tim HalesEverton's Landon Donovan, left, had two assists to help beat Clint Dempsey's Fulham squad in a rare matchup between the two American stars in an FA Cup match on Friday.
Donovan, who will be with Everton through Feb. 25, has assisted four of the club's six goals in its last five games.
“Landon's been great since he's been here," Everton assistant coach Steve Round told media after the victory, just the second in Donovan's five appearances since the loan deal officially started Jan. 1. “He's a real diamond of a guy. He's a very intelligent footballer, and the lads all like him. You've seen the quality of his end product, whether it be from crosses or set plays. He's a top player.”
Donovan has been outstanding since joining Everton, just as he was in a 10-week stint with the Toffees two years ago. He's been a force on the right flank and has become the go-to corner kick specialist, a role he defers to David Beckham with the Galaxy.
The Irish striker, on a 6½-week loan from the Galaxy, tallied in the 51st and 84th minutes to prod the Villans from a 2-1 halftime deficit.
L.A.'s other EPL loaner, captain Landon Donovan, also had a role in a goal, helping to create Tim Cahill's opener in Everton's 1-1 draw against visiting Blackburn.
It was a huge day for another American: Clint Dempsey's hat trick sparked Fulham's 5-2 win over Newcastle.
Both of Keane's goals were stupendous. He pulled Villa even six minutes into the second half on a stunning half-volley from just outside the box from Ciaran Clark's header.
Even better was his late winner. He collected an attempted clearance at the top of the box and pounded it in off the bottom of the crossbar.
Keane did not celebrate either goal, in recognition of his time as a youngster in Wolves' set up.
“They were two great strikes,” Villa manager Alex McLeish told his club's website. “Robbie has done that throughout his career. It was no surprise to see him get on the scoresheet. The winner was spectacular. Not many people shoot from there these days. Robbie has done that a few times through the years.
“Getting it out from your feet is the key to the technique for a striker like Robbie. They instinctively know how to move the ball quickly and get it out of his feet. You have to be quick as an opposition player, and, unfortunately for the Wolves defenders, it was two sublime strikes.
Wambach, who scored four goals at last summer's Women's World Cup and was a finalist for FIFA's Ballon d'Or women's player-of-the-year award, won the Female Athlete of the Year honor for the fifth time and second time in succession. Only Mia Hamm also has won five times.
Leroux, which was draft first overall by the Atlanta Beat in Women's Professional Soccer's draft last week, won the Young Female Athlete of the Year award.
Fulham star Clint Dempsey capured the Male Athlete honor for the second time -- Landon Donovan had won the previous two years -- and FC Dallas winger Brek Shea was the Young Male Athlete winner.
It's reunion time for Landon Donovan, who on Wednesday will see American Brad Friedel, next weekend likely reconnect with Galaxy teammate Robbie Keane -- and now he's got a matchup with fellow U.S. national team attacker Clint Dempsey.
Everton was drawn Sunday with Dempsey's Fulham for the fourth round of the F.A. Cup, which will be played the weekend of Jan. 28. Dempsey scored a hat trick in the Cottagers' 4-0 rout of fellow Londoners Charlton Athletic in their tournament opener Saturday.
Donovan played a key role in Everton's 2-0 victory over non-league Tamworth, in which he got to visit with former Galaxy teammate Kyle Patterson. It was his second 90-minute appearance since his eight-week loan to the Toffees began on New Year's Day.
“I feel great, cardio-wise. My legs are a little tired, so hopefully I'll get a few days to kind of come down and recover a little bit, and then a really big game that I'm excited for,” Donovan said after Saturday's win, on video posted on Everton's website. “I think the team struggled a little bit [in Donovan's first game, a loss Wednesday] against Bolton. I thought we played a little bit better today.
“We're going to need a big effort against Tottenham [on Wednesday], but it's been nice to be back. I've enjoyed the couple games so far and just want to keep going.”
Tottenham, which sits third in the Premier League standings with a 13-3-3 record, features former U.S. national-teamer Friedel in the nets, and this will be the first meeting since the former UCLA All-American's comments last month to the BBC's World Service that appeared to slight Donovan.
Landon Donovan set up an early goal and nearly added a spectacular strike near the end as Everton's opened its F.A. Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory Saturday over fifth-tier Tamworth.
The third-round victory sends the Toffees into a round-of-32 match later this month. The opponent will be determined in a draw Sunday.
The Galaxy captain again went the full 90, as he did in Wednesday's English Premier League loss to Bolton -- his first appearance in an eight-week loan -- and it appears he's quickly meshed with his new teammates. He was dynamic in stages, as against Bolton, and unfortunate to be involved in only one goal.
Donovan's fifth-minute corner kick curled to the far post for Johnny Heitinga, whose header deflected off a Tamworth defender and into the net. Everton added a Leighton Baines penalty kick in the 79th minute.
Donovan teamed with Baines to create a fine chance for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov in the 77th minute, and nearly scored a tremendous goal in the 85th, a 25-yard blast to the upper V that hit near where the post and crossbar meet.
Brad Friedel's criticism of Landon Donovan? It's all a misunderstanding, the American goalkeeper said Friday, after his remarks to BBC's World Service earlier this week caused a major stir in soccer circles on this side of the Atlantic.
“Not in a million years would I disparage an American player,” Friedel told Major League Soccer's website after comments he made, that Donovan “chose to take the easy road and stay in the States” rather than play in England and that “he gets a lot more notoriety because [soccer is] sponsorship-driven” in the U.S., went viral Thursday.
Friedel, 40, the former U.S. national team star who plays for Tottenham in London, reached out the MLS's website and to Donovan's representatives to apologize that what he said was twisted so badly.
His remarks came in response to a question about midfielder Clint Dempsey, who scored his 37th English Premier League goal Monday for Fulham, setting a new standard for Americans in the world's most respected league.
“My two comments were that Clint plays over here and a lot of it is sponsorship-driven [in the US], trying to create heroes over in the U.S.,” Friedel said. “I used Landon as an example. When I said 'easy road,' I’m not saying that everything Landon has done is easy because he stayed in the U.S. I’m not saying that at all. I could have used other players as an example. It’s just that Landon came up at the tip of my tongue because he’s one of the best U.S. players.
“At no time did I want to disparage or demean Landon Donovan in an way, shape or form. And if people read my quotes in a negative manner, I apologize for that. But at no time would I ever speak publicly in a negative way about another American player and mean it and actually go out and have a go at the guy. That’s not me. That’s not my personality.”
One of America's greatest goalkeepers had some sharp words for Landon Donovan earlier this week, setting alight soccer message boards and blogs.
UCLA product Brad Friedel, 40, a former U.S. national team star who has played in England since 1997 and now toils for Tottenham, was praising Clint Dempsey for becoming the English Premier League's top American goalscorer when he suddenly bashed the U.S.'s best-known and most accomplished player.
The beef: Donovan plays in Major League Soccer.
“You get a player like a Landon Donovan, who in my opinion chose to take the easy road and stay in the States,” Friedel, Donovan's teammate on the U.S. side that reached the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals, told the BBC's World Service on Tuesday (first reported state-side in The Sporting News). “It’s much harder to ply your trade over here.
“[The English Premier League] is the best league in the world to play in, and this is where [Dempsey] got better, in my opinion. This is where he became one of the best the United States ever produced.”
Dempsey is fantastic -- he and Donovan and are the two finest field players this country has produced -- and his goal Monday to lift Fulham past Liverpool is worth noting. It was his 37th in EPL play, the most by a Yank, surpassing the 36 Brian McBride netted in his tenure with the London club.
Donovan, 29, has been criticized before for choosing MLS over superior European leagues, and his choice surely has been informed by poor experiences in Germany, as a teen with Bayer Leverkusen, with which he signed at 16, and in a 2009 loan spell with Bayern Munich.
He went to the EPL, to Everton, on loan in 2010, and was a revelation, winning the Liverpool-based club's Player of the Month honor, winning acclaim from teammates and fans, and prompting the club to look deeply into the possibility of bringing him on full-time.
The best thing about the U.S. national team's 3-2 victory Tuesday in Slovenia -- and there were a lot of good things -- might have been the opening whistle. It gave U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra his 100th cap, a threshold only 11 American men had previously reached.
The central defender from Alta Loma (Alta Loma HS/UCLA) went the full 90 as the Yanks improved to 2-4-1 under Jurgen Klinsmann with their first victory in Europe in 3½ years.
Clint Dempsey forced a turnover that former Galaxy striker Edson Buddle finished from distance in the ninth minute, and Dempsey's header from Michael Bradley's corner kick restored the U.S. advantage in the 41st minute. Jozy Altidore converted a penalty kick two minutes later after Fabian Johnson was dragged down.
Tim Matavz's second goal of the night, in the 61st minute, pulled Slovenia closer.
Other L.A. area players seeing action were Bradley (Manhattan Beach), who started in midfield, and Maurice Edu (Fontana/Etiwanda HS) and Robbie Rogers (Palos Verdes and Huntington Beach/Mater Dei HS), who came off the bench.
Bocanegra debuted for the U.S. in December 2001 and has served as the team's captain since June 2007.
“It was a special night,” Klinsmann told reporters afterward. “The team was pumped up all day, and they wanted to do well for him.”
Five of the top seven on the all-time U.S. caps list are from Southern California -- Cobi Jones (Westlake Village/Westlake HS and UCLA), Landon Donovan (Redlands/Redlands East Valley HS), Marcelo Balboa (Cerritos/Cerritos HS), Paul Caligiuri (Diamond Bar/Walnut HS) and Eric Wynalda (Westlake Village/Westlake HS) -- and Bocanegra is joined at 100 caps by Joe-Max Moore (Irvine/Mission Viejo HS and UCLA).
U.S. Soccer has put together a “infographic” -- a poster, more or less -- commemorating Bocanegra's 100 maches, and a PDF is available for download.
U.S. CENTURY CLUB
(100 international appearances)
1. Cobi Jones 164
2. Landon Donovan 138
3. Jeff Agoos 134
4. Marcelo Balboa 128
5. Claudio Reyna 112
6. Paul Caligiuri 110
7. Eric Wynalda 106
8. Kasey Keller 102
9. Earnie Stewart 101
10. Carlos Bocanegra 100
Tony Meola 100
Joe-Max Moore 100
Fulham forward Clint Dempsey has won the 2011 Futbol de Primera Player of the Year award, which since 1991 has been awarded annually to the best U.S. national team player in a vote of American soccer media.
Dempsey, a Texan who has starred for the London-based club since 2006, has scored four goals in a dozen appearances this season for the U.S. national team -- three in its run to the CONCACAF Gold Cup title game -- with friendlies remaining Nov. 11 against France outside Paris and Nov. 15 against Slovenia in Ljubljana.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard finished second in the balloting, followed by Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, who has won then award a record seven times, including the previous four years.
Dempsey, 28, also won the honor in 2006.
The U.S. national team on Monday made two substitutions on its 24-man roster for Friday's game at Home Depot Center against Costa Rica and next week's friendly in Brussels against Belgium, replacing Pearce and FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd with D.C. United attacker Pontius and Birmingham City's Jonathan Spector.
Pearce suffered a hamstring injury in Chivas' loss Saturday night to Real Salt Lake -- he said trainers told him they believe it is torn, but no word yet on what tests determined -- and Loyd is nursing a hamstring strain.
Pontius (Servite HS and UC Santa Barbara), 24, who was in the U.S.'s January 2009 camp at HDC, can play several attacking positions and has been employed primarily on the left wing with D.C. He has scored a career-best seven goals in his third season with the club.
DEALING WITH BRADLEY: U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was asked Monday during a roundtable discussion with L.A. soccer media whether it was uncomfortable coaching Michael Bradley, the son of Bob Bradley, Klinsmann's predecessor, who was dismissed from the job last month.
Bradley, whom Major League Soccer's website reports is finalizing a deal to join Italian Serie A club Chievo Verona before Europe's transfer window closes Wednesday, was a starting midfielder for the U.S. in Klinsmann's debut, a 1-1 draw Aug. 10 with Mexico in Philadelphia.
“It was not complicated at all,” Klinsmann said. “I called him up and said, 'Michael, first of all, I have the highest respect for Bob. He did a great job, and I will touch base with him down the road. ... I definitely want to sit down with Bob and pick his brain and have a soccer talk.'
“I told him I'm there simply to help him.”
JOHNSON CAN'T PLAY: German-born defender/midfielder Fabian Johnson, who plays at 1899 Hoffenheim, is not yet eligible to play for the U.S. -- he represented Germany at the 2009 UEFA U-21 Championship, and FIFA must grant approval for his switch to his father's homeland.