Archive for USMNT

What does 2015 hold for Real Salt Lake?

It came down to the wire, but a new CBA has been agreed to, so the MLS season can get under way.  What exactly does that mean for RSL heading into the 2015 season?

With some big off-season changes both in the front office as well as on the pitch, this clearly is now Dell Loy’s team with his choice for coach Jeff Cassar entering his second season and Craig Waibel as the Technical Director in place. So what are your expectations for RSL heading into the 2015 season? Remember this year we will see MLS action, CCL action, USOC action, as well as the addition of USL Pro side Real Monarchs, construction of a new stadium for them, the possible addition of a NWSL team, that is a whole lot of soccer (and yes we love it).

So let’s start with the bread and butter of RSL, the regular season, over the last 5 years 3 clubs in MLS have been the definition of regular season success, the LA Galaxy, the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake. For the last 5 years both LA and RSL have won at least 15 matches and ended with at least 50 points, Seattle has done it the last 4 seasons.  RSL has made the playoffs every season since 2008, the longest active streak in MLS.

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Real Salt Lake look to make history at Seattle – Match Preview

A couple years ago Real Salt Lake went on an amazing unbeaten streak at Rio Tinto Stadium, that streak was ended by Seattle, now RSL will be looking to set a new record for most matches without a loss to start a MLS season with a win or a draw at Seattle.  The record would be nice but for me it is about a team that has overcome so much already this season proving that together they are capable of amazing things.

With a completely new coaching staff entering into the 2014 season, including a rookie head coach in Jeff Cassar, expectations were tempered and when you factor in a rather brutal schedule (or what looked like on when it was released) I can assure you that nobody was talking about setting a record for most matches without a loss to start the season.  Then came the actual matches, the injuries, the call ups, more injuries, and some ugly matches, and here we sit heading into the 13th match of the season with a 6-0-6 record.  There are so many places that one has to give credit, the breakout season that Joao Plata is having with 6 goals and 3 assists, the surprise off season signing of Luke Muholland who has added 3 goals and 2 assists while playing in every RSL match so far this season, the dominance of Jeff Attinella when filling in for Nick Rimando with a 0.75 GAA, 2 clean sheets and a MLS save of the week.

Of course we also have the things that don’t surprise us, Kyle Beckerman’s commanding presence at the back of the diamond, which over the last two years have seen him claw his way back into the USMNT and onto the World Cup roster.  I am so very proud of the heart and passion that Kyle has brought to RSL over the years, nobody deserves a trip to the World Cup more than the most consistent player in MLS.  We have another MVP type season coming from Javier Morales, with 4 goals and 5 assists he continues to put his stamp on RSL and MLS as one of the best creative players the league has had.  The consistency of the RSL defenders, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, along with some great work from Aaron Maund as well.

That just scratches the surface of things that have lead RSL to where they are, when you think about Seattle, you have to think Clint Dempsey (8 goals, 3 assists) and Obafemi Martins (5 goals, 6 assists) two guys who struggled to make an impact at the end of the 2013 season but who have lifted the Sounders to the top of the MLS table early in 2014.  The Sounders have also gotten a real boost from some new players this season as Chad Marshall came over from the Crew and has looked like a younger and better version of himself in Rave Green while leading the Seattle backline, in the midfield Gonzalo Pineda and Marco Pappa have fit in nicely working with Osvaldo Alonso, and a mix of Lamar Neagle, Brad Evans and others.  At 8-3-2 the Sounders have done something that most MLS teams can rarely pull off, they have given up the first goal in 6 of their matches and found a way to come back and claim wins in 4 of them, that is impressive.

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A new anthem for the USMNT – We Stand United by Branden Steineckert

So I am by no stretch of the imagination a huge music fan, but I have a huge respect for talented people who can make music that entertains.  Branden Steineckert (@801PUNX) is one of those guys, he was with The Used, he is with Rancid, but he is more than just a guy in a band, he is able to take his love and passion for soccer and use it to do amazing things.

First it was “Believe” his anthem for Real Salt Lake, which still gives fans like me chills every time I hear it live or watch the video for it, which has been viewed almost 1/4 of a million times. Branden is also a huge US Men’s National Team fan, and just like he applied his talent and passion for RSL to “Believe” we now have “We Stand United”, his anthem for the USMNT.

His ability to create chants that are easy to remember, have a catchy rhythm and still express his (our) passion for our teams is simply amazing.  I am proud to know Branden and far beyond his talent is a guy who is simply a great guy, always willing to say hi to fans, always willing to pose for a picture and whenever he is in Salt Lake City, I know where to find him when RSL is playing a home match, right in the front row of section 35 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

My advice to you is to watch the video, learn these lyrics:



because I expect they will be heard from now on in every stadium where the USMNT plays, at least if we as fans have any sense about us.

Oh and if you want to buy the song from itunes you can.

Thanks Branden for all that you do to support RSL, the USMNT, and the beautiful game in general.

That’s How I See It

ESPN, Fox and Univision show MLS the money, now what?

An estimated $90 million dollars a year is what the deal will be worth according to reports out this morning, that is a huge bump from the current $18-20 million a year and could be just the game changer that MLS needs to become one of the top leagues in the world, or is it?

Here are the details as provided by SBJ/SBD:

New TV

Now I have been more than a little critical of the level of commitment over the past decade by both ESPN and Fox, and you only have to look at the fact that not a single MLS match has been shown on ESPN/2 yet this year to know why.  The new plan calls for both to broadcast 34 matches a year, yes that is one each week (or equivalent of), and another one each week on Univision and now you have almost 100 matches being carried on a national level.  Now before you get too excited that actually isn’t a big move forward, this year NBC/S will have 40 MLS matches on, there are 48 on UniMas and/or Univision Dep. and 14 more on ESPN/2.  The big new will be the regular time spots, Univision on Friday nights, and both Fox and ESPN on Sundays, fans have asked for a regular time slot and they will now have it.  For me the big upside is that now national matches aren’t trying to compete with all the matches that are played on Saturdays, which I think will help ratings out a lot.

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Michael Bradley comes to MLS, what it could mean to the rest of the league

A lot of us have roommates, some because they are friends and others to divide up living costs.  A lot of us carpool or take public transit, some because it is environmentally good and others to save money.  For the 25% plus of MLS players who reportedly made under $50,000 last year I imagine it was a lot of the second, most don’t play in cities where their parents live so crashing in their basement isn’t an option.   Now when compared to the league minimums of other professional sports leagues in the US this number will either make you laugh or cry:

So at the low end of the list is the NFL, a bit of a surprise to me, but consider that just 18 players in all of MLS in 2013 made more than the league minimum of what a NFL player would make, 501 made less.

Now it is kinda unfair to compare MLS which is a very young league with those who have been around a lot longer, but clearly if you want to compete for the very best athletes in the US you have to be able to offer them something closer to what they can make in other leagues.

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Welcome back, a bit of catch up and house cleaning

So I owe all of you a bit on an apology, the last month has been a very long one for me.  I was excited to be able to really enjoy being a fan for the World Cup Qualifier, that was followed by a rough fight with a nasty round of being sick, and then a huge week at work with several projects coming due at once.  So I am sorry for the lack of posts over the last month, but now I am back and have a whole lot to say over the next few days and weeks.

However I must first put in this plug for Saturday, we beyond lucky that we got both a World Cup Qualifier and the Gold Cup (with the USMNT).  It wasn’t Seattle, New York, LA, Dallas, or any other market that was selected for both, it was Salt Lake City, and I get there was some friction between some of our local supporter groups and the American Outlaws last time around, but I really hope that everyone comes out in great numbers and great voice on Saturday.  Our boys deserve the level of support that we are known for in MLS, and as you watch this video clip you can understand how important this match is to our players (Kyle, Nick, and Tony) and how proud they are to be able to play at their home stadium:

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Time for Real Salt Lake and US Soccer fans to have some fun

Oh I know it is the start of the week, and many of us may be at work today, but that is no excuse not to enjoy the next 48 hours.  As soccer fans, the chance to host a World Cup qualifier is a rare event, and we in Salt Lake City are lucky as the US is back in town and a win on Tuesday will all but ensure their spot in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

So before the actual match, are some fun events, both official and unofficial, so lets take a look at what is going on today:

First up the official list of events from US Soccer:


Monday, June 17
U.S. Soccer Fan Headquarters 
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: The Depot (400 W. South Temple)

U.S. Soccer Pep Rally 
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: The Depot

U.S. Soccer is holding a free Pep Rally at The Depot in Salt Lake City at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 17to energize fans the night before the U.S. Men’s National Team hosts Honduras in a crucial World Cup Qualifier on June 18 at Rio Tinto Stadium in nearby Sandy, Utah. U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and select players will be on hand to interact with fans in attendance.

The Depot (400 W. South Temple) is one of Salt Lake City’s most unique music venues and is conveniently located on the TRAX light rail system (exit at the Arena station on South Temple).

Leading into the Pep Rally, fans can come out to U.S. Soccer’s Fan Headquarters (#FanHQ) at The Depot at 5 p.m. to take part in other activities. Fans can participate in a EA Sports FIFA 13 video game competition, which will be displayed on a giant screen, play small-sided street soccer, answer trivia questions to win prizes and pick up giveaways, such as a small version of the game-specific poster for USA-Honduras designed by Eric Elms.

Of course there are some other events as well

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Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman talks USMNT, RSL and more.

It was just about two years that I had a chance to spend some time talking with RSL’s Kyle Beckerman, you can read that interview on my old blog, on Friday I was able to ask Kyle a couple of questions after RSL practice.  I am impressed with how consistent Kyle is in his maturity about the USMNT and RSL, and it is clear that you can tell that he is a player who is really enjoying his time both with his club and representing the US.  I have a feeling that as good as Kyle has been over the years, that the best is yet to come.  Here is the video of his interview:

I suggest making it out to as many RSL matches as you can to see Kyle in action, and don’t forget that you will also have two chances this summer to likely see Kyle with the USMNT as they play at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 18th in a World Cup Qualifying match against Honduras, and then on July 13th when the US will take on Cuba in Gold Cup action, which is part of a double header that will also feature Costa Rica (likely with Alvaro Saborio) that will take on Belize.

That’s How I See It

USA 0 – Mexico 0, is this a coming out party for MLS and soccer in the US?

When a team has managed just a single draw in 20 years against a particular opponent at a particular stadium, getting another one is a big event.  When a team normally fills their ranks with players from European leagues but instead stocks the team with players from MLS due to injuries and other issues, it can be a big event.  When these things impact what many people consider one of the most heated international rivalries in sport, it is big.  That is what happened on Tuesday night when the US Men’s Soccer Team took the pitch at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City to face the Mexican National Team and in the past two days there have been many published thoughts about what happened and what it might mean for both soccer in general and for Major League Soccer and US Soccer specifically.  Who am I not to jump on this bandwagon and offer some thoughts?

The biggest thing that has jumped out to me after the match isn’t what most people have focused on, for me it has been the number 7,000,000. That is the number of people in the United States that watched the match on TV, the most ever for a World Cup Qualifying match.  4.6 million of those people watched the match on Uni Mas, while 2.4 watched the match on ESPN.  That number on ESPN was 47% more than people who watched the NBA match that was showed at the same time on TNT (LA Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks), that is a huge accomplishment for US Soccer.  I think the appeal of the US vs. Mexico match, along with the excitement of last week’s US vs. Costa Rica match (the snow match in Denver) sure helped boost ratings.  These numbers both on of these networks were record highs for this type of programming, a great accomplishment for the networks, the teams, and for the fans of both sides.

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Two down and thirty two to go for Real Salt Lake & other news

So on Saturday night RSL lost a tight 1-0 match to DC United, and to be honest neither team looked nearly as good as I expected them to, a part of that might be the way the respective midfields match up, a part could be that we are still very early in the MLS season and teams are still adjusting to new lineup, teammates, and such.  Still, remember back to what Garth Lagerwey has said for a few months now, RSL will look better in June than they do in March and they will look better in October than they do in June.

So there were some real upsides on Saturday night, perhaps none more than the late match energy of Lovell Palmer who was a ball of energy on both sides of the ball and could be pushing for a start on Saturday against Colorado if he is fit enough to go the full 90.  I think Chris Schuler and Kwame Watson-Siriboe were rock solid in the match and worked well in tandem of who was going forward and who was covering space, the teamwork and communications between them seemed to be spot on.

On the downside, I think RSL lacked a bit of energy early on in the match, it seemed to lack the intensity of the San Jose match, but that is somewhat understandable on a short week, a long trip to the East coast and your second road match in 7 days.  You also have to remember that we were taking on two teams that finished in the top 3 last year, the two finished with a combined home record last year of 22-2-10.

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