Posts tagged carlos bocanegra

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Cause for Concern for US in Back to Back Qualifiers Against Jamaica

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I’ve said before that qualifying out of our CONCACAF region is full of tense moments.  This upcoming set of games, back to back vs. Jamaica (at their place on 9/7, and at home in Columbus on 9/11), is an early example of how a few breaks can lead to sticky situations in what should have been a straightforward path out of our semifinal group.

Klinsmann has had to test his depth with this roster, and there are a few things worth pondering as the team prepares for the most crucial two games of his tenure.

Muscle Strains Depth

Two of our best three players are missing due to leg strains.  Landon Donovan tweaked his hammy in the win down in Mexico and hasn’t played since in MLS, while Bradley’s been sidelined with a bum thigh for AS Roma since a so-so first start in their season opener.  Donovan’s leadership, decision-making, workrate and ability to make that one perfect play that wins the game will obviously be missed.  But Bradley’s absence is arguably more painful.  The team counts on his two-way ability and he provides punch on both sides of the ball as well as a knack for coming up with big goals.  With his backup options, you either lose passing and possession, or defensive bite.  It is difficult to overstate the void left by the absence of these two and the experience they would have brought.

In addition, Josh Gatt, the Norway-based speed merchant looking for his first cap, had to turn down Klinsmann’s call due to….a strained hamstring.

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Photos and Video: Carlos Bocanegra in ESPN’s Body Issue

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I am speechless.

The full issue gallery is here, and here is a behind the scenes video of Captain America’s photo shoot:

The magazine hits mailboxes and newsstands starting today, with the great shots of Bocanegra after the jump.

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Questions Remain For USA as World Cup Qualifying Starts

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It's a long road to get here....

Well – it’s here.  World Cup Qualifying.  Read Grant Wahl’s excellent primer here to get you in the mood.

We are coming off a game against Brazil which showcased some excellent attacking play from the US, which had me optimistic despite a poor result (1-4 loss); and against Canada (0-0 tie) which simultaneously put me to sleep and woke me out of my complacency in thinking this team had figured things out on the offensive side of the ball.  That performance was so static and lifeless that I can only hope they were tired and testing out their “how you grind out a 0-0 result” strategy.  We were lucky to leave with that result.

Now the team is in Tampa, waiting to face tiny Antigua and Barbuda in a game that will only be remembered if it goes horribly wrong.  And then it’s on to Guatemala City to play a game that is much more difficult than it looks on paper.  That’s the thing about qualifying.  People only notice it when it goes awry.  But if you ask me, this is my favorite sporting ‘event’.  I’ve talked about why in prior posts, but qualifying is where you earn your stripes as a fan.  It’s about paying $30 to watch a grainy feed from Guatemala in the first round.  It’s about hugging a stranger at Cuatros (our local American Outlaws bar) when our boys clinch their ticket to the finals in some Central American hell hole stadium with hardly anyone back home noticing how hard it really was.  The World Cup finals in Brazil (fingers crossed, no jinxies) are the fun part, and the casual fans will start paying attention then.  But the two years ahead of that are where you earn the right to call this team yours.

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International Soccer Ally Olivier Giroud is Très Sexy in French Gay Magazine

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I know this website is mainly US Soccer related, but I thought I’d share a little news from the global soccer ally sphere. Every December, prominent French gay magazine Têtu polls readers on who they think is the sexiest Ligue 1 player. The winner is then offered the chance to grace their cover. It’s not required that they accept (2009 winner Yoann Gourcuff decline to appear on the cover). However, it’s always more fun when they do. Last year’s winner was French international Adil Rami, who beat out our very own captain and soccer ally Carlos Bocanegra (who, playing for St. Etienne at the time, did not even make the top 3!).

France National Team forward, Ligue 1’s 2011-2012 Golden Boot winner, and player for recently crowned champions Montpellier Hérault SC (and my personal favorite French player) Olivier Giroud was selected back in December, and I eagerly waited to see if he would agree to be on the cover. He teased fans via Facebook about a month ago with one of the photos and tagged it as “photo shooting.” Last week, pictures began to leak and Kickette got their hands on all of them via French website A Cause des Garçons (which of course I’m sharing with you all here!).

Besides the super steamy pictures we all get to salivate over, this annual cover gives the magazine a chance to partner up with their own soccer allies to create an open and warm community. Giroud told the magazine he was happy to be on the cover and hopes that his actions will help change peoples attitudes.

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BeckhamDrawers

Thursday Happy Hour: I’ve Never Wanted a Diet Soda So Much Before

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First up, the Vancouver Whitecaps show a great sense of humo(u)r with this photograph they Tweeted as a response to advertisements featuring a rival in his skivvies popping up in their city. But really, it’s the kind of funny you would expect from Canadians.

We love when MLS teams go retro (as with Portland’s third kit this season), and MLSSoccer.com gives us a look at the San Jose Earthquakes’ season tickets for 2012, featuring photographs of Quakes teams from different eras going back to the NASL days of the 1970′s.

KCKRS introduces us to buckminsterfullerene, outer space molecules whose shape looks an awful like the truncated icosahedron of the Adidas Telstar soccer ball made famous by the World Cups of the seventies.

Finally, four members of the USA squad just called up today to face Italy next week participated in a photo shoot for Pepsi Max, and they posted the behind the scenes video today. Gorgeousness abounds.

 

Friday Happy Hour: The ABC’s of Soccer Valentines

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Amarikwa, Bocanegra, Califf, Donovan, and the rest…here are this week’s Soccer Valentines, listed by the one being admired:

Plus one more coming shortly from yours truly…

An awkward moment via mlssoccer.com

Thursday Happy Hour: Homecoming Season

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An awkward moment via mlssoccer.com

Today’s news was filled with homecomings in Major League Soccer:

The deal for Brian Ching to return to the Houston Dynamo from the Montreal Impact who picked him up in the Expansion Draft came to pass.

After a stint in Europe, former USMNT striker Eddie Johnson will be making a return to MLS. The league allocation process for Johnson will take place tomorrow.

Finally, it’s rumored that the Vancouver Whitecaps have an interest in bringing Soccer Ally and USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra back to MLS. Bocanegra is one of several Americans playing for SPL’s financially struggling Rangers FC.

 

Anton Hysén’s Soccer Valentine

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Carlos Bocanegra

defender, Rangers FC & US Men’s National Team

Why is he Anton’s Soccer Valentine? He’s good looking and obviously the captain of the US Team

What would their Soccer Valentine date be? I’d just take him out for some beers n watch football, eat some pizza n just make it simple. =)

Anton is on Twitter at @antonhysenoffic and on the web at www.antonhysen.com.

 

ALLIES #99 AND #100

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Start the drum roll and get the herald trumpets ready with some fanfare because soccer allies #99 and #100 are coming up right after the jump…

click here for allies 99 and 100!…

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