In 2014 one of my friends in Mexico said “jugó con ganas” after the US was eliminated by Belgium in the World Cup. It’s something that I think rings true about the US Men’s National Team when they have success, or even failure as is often the case - they played with desire. It’s something that that seems like it was lost at times under Bruce Arena and Jurgen Klinsmann. The US hasn’t played a competitive match since October of 2017 and won’t play in one this year. But the way that the team stayed together and fought for each other against France was a promising. It may be a long time until the US has what it takes to win a World Cup, for now I’ll take a team that I can watch and say - jugó con ganas as they try to get there.
Since MLS runs through the summer it isn’t exactly possible for the league to take a full month off and more for the World Cup, so while the young USMNTers were spending early June in Europe, their American counterparts in the domestic league were still at it, here’s what went down over the weekend with a US Open Cup midweek kicker to boot...
He’s one of our own...
Andrew Carleton may be the most popular player for Atlanta United and he had 14 minutes for the first team in 2018 until Wednesday night. The teenage attacker went the full 90 minutes in the club’s US Open Cup matchup against the Charleston Battery and scored his first competitive goal for the senior squad.
Carleton also helped Atlanta largely dominate an outmatched USL side and his interplay with Argentine teenager Ezequiel Barco hopefully impressed Tata Martino enough to trust the American with more minutes. Meanwhile, Brandon Vazquez started at right wing and Miles Robionson helped the Five Stripes keep a clean sheet against the USL side, who somehow allowed a shot from goalkeeper Alec Kann - go figure.
Another goal for... who now?
Gyasi Zardes continues to show that he’s kind of a good soccer player. Stop laughing. The point of soccer is to score goals, and Gyasinho is doing that in bunches. He added to his goals total and is keeping up with Josef Martinez in the MLS golden boot race. Oh, look at that Josef will take the “I celebrate goals by scaring the next one into the net” show on the road to visit Gyasi and the Columbus Crew on Wednesday. If Zardes keeps up, Gregg Berhalter may end up being the next MLS manager moving to Europe.
Wasn’t it past their bedtime?
Three - count em’ - three American teenagers got starts in the Portland Timbers vs. Sporting KC match on Saturday night. Marco Farfan played 63 minutes at left back for Portland while Jaylin Lindsey and Wan Kuzain both started for SKC. The later were playing in their second start in a row after both featuring in the team’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night in the US Open Cup. The teams would battle to a draw in the game, but Sporting looked the more impressive side thanks in part to Kuzain completing 93% of his passes on the left side of central midfield - the young man really takes great care of the ball.
Gaining on the record
I know, he’s old and divisive and a punchline and the example that everyone points to of someone who represents the kind of player that doesn’t need to be on the USMNT, but Chris Wondolowski is inching closer to breaking Landon Donovan’s all time MLS goals scored record. The San Jose Earthquakes striker scored a brace in a goal filled game at Avaya Stadium. San Jose has a lot - a lot - of problems, mainly related to the way that they just don’t play defense, but Wondo might give fans something to rally around as he goes for 146 career goals this season.
The first goal was pretty nice, Wondo catches keeper Tyler Miller off of his line and puts the ball over his head:
The second goal was a bit of a comedy goal with the joke on Miller yet again...
So many goals in British Columbia
The Orlando City Soccer Club and the Vancouver Whitecaps played a wild match at BC Place on Saturday night. The game would end 5-2 with Orlando going down a player in the 58th minute with the score at 1-0 for Vancouver. O-Town would go all or nothing at that point and Sacha Kljestan evened the score in the 64th minute. From there, the Whitecaps would unleash Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies who scored a goal and assisted on two more goals to put Vancouver ahead 5-1 with the addition of a Kei Kamara penalty. Orlando would get one back from Dom Dwyer, assisted by Chris Mueller. It was the sixth loss in a row for the team in purple and the real highlight was Jason Kreis explaining why his second stint coaching a 2015 expansion side was going so poorly.
In case you missed that it was something something 10%... something something the refs... something something... I’m going to tell the players to be better? In short, all is not well in Orlando.
This is the most accurate summary of the game that I could find:
Brek Shea hanging out with his pet hen pic.twitter.com/4YZzBAeMcs— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) June 10, 2018
This is what you’re probably here for...
Behold, the most confused, worst howler of the weekend...
Calamitous series of errors by the #cf97 defenders and Richard Sanchez to gift an equalizer to #NERevs. Let the ball bounce in the box, inexplicably dropped it, and Fagundez set up Bunbury for an easy finish. 1-1. #CHIvNE pic.twitter.com/GcWVEGNxWD— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) June 10, 2018
Brad Friedel has New England playing inspired soccer as of late.