One nation under Jurgen Klinsmann with dreams of goals for all

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Arsenal not ready for bright lights

Wayne Rooney showed today why he and England will be a top favorite going into the summer World Cup, while exposing the young Gunners major problems yet again.

In the match of the weekend between the second place Red Devils and third place Gunners, Manchester United showed why it is still a top heavyweight in the footballing world despite the offseason sale of the world's best player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Needing to get all three points to keep pace with the premiership's top club Chelsea, who dispatched of Burnley just a day earlier 2-1 on John Terry's header (as previously mentioned), Nanni and Rooney were at the heart of an enormous win on the road in north London.

Nanni put United on the board late in the first half with a brilliant chip that goalkeeper Manuel Almunia slightly deflected into his own net while trying to tip over the crossbar. The Spaniard Almunia has been a major question mark for Arsenal ever since overtaking the duties of then German No. 1 Jens Lehman, playing well at times, but again failing on the biggest of stages last night.

Nanni then hooked up with Rooney just before the end of the half on a blazing quick counter attack that started in the Man U goal area. Taking the ball in his own end of a feed from Rooney, Nanni's pace stretched the Arsenal defense thin. Nanni then returned the ball to Rooney, who made a bursting run down the middle of the field, and hit the ball on a dead sprint one-time for a sensational finish into the left netting - a truly remarkable show of world class skill and grand way to celebrate his 100th premier league goal. Park Ji Sung then finished Arsenal with a third goal early in the second half, negating any chance of a dream come back for the Gunners. See the highlights in this youtube clip. http://http//

A goal from Thomas Vermaelen just over 10 minutes from time was little consolation to the home supporters, who left disappointed after the Gunners dropped points for the second straight game and slipped into third place in the EPL standings five points behind leaders Chelsea and four points behind Man U.

Goal of the weekend

Alvaro Negredo provided the goal of the weekend for fourth place Sevilla in a terrific win 2-1 over third place Valencia in the Spanish La Liga action. The Argentine scored both goals, but the second was truly a piece of magic taking a beautiful feed then beating the Valencia keeper with a perfectly placed chip into the right upper netting. See the youtube link for highlights. The second Negredo goal occurs at the 2:30 mark. http://http//

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Somewhere in Mississippi, Tiger Woods raises his pimp cup for a toast

If you've never been to England, specifically London, it's worth it just for the newspapers and tabloids alone. Imagine if every NFL player's personal life was followed as closely as Tom Brady's and you can somewhat start to appreciate the microscope that English Premier League players live under. Homegrown EPL players even more so.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the latest scandal in the UK is that Chelsea and England captain John Terry (who's married and has twins) had an affair with English teammate Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend. Throw in the juicy detail that said former flame is a French underwear model and boom: you've got a story that everyone is talking about.

Since I spent a semester in London during the winter/spring of 2005, Terry has always been one of my favorites. I even have an England jersey with his name on the back.

As a nice footnote, Terry didn't seem affected by the whole thing since he scored the game-winning goal on a sweet header off a corner kick in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Burnley yesterday.

PS. John what the hell are you wearing? Must have been a present from the wife. Also a great picture because while his wife stares at him (and not the camera), some banshee in the background gives her best smile.

Remember when you hated Landon Donovan?

I am no different than you (if you like the US men's national soccer team), I have bitched about Landon Donovan-the face of the team-for much of the last decade. I finally realized something though after watching him score his first goal with Everton on Wednesday vs. Sutherland: it's time to love Landycakes.

He came onto the scene with the national team in 2002 and what a run as they advanced out of the group stage and beat bitter rival Mexico in the round of 16, to make it to the final eight before losing a classic to Germany.

Donovan had two disastrous stints playing on loan in Germany and each time he came slinking back to the US where he dominated the MLS like LeBron in the NBDL. Meanwhile, the turd sandwich submitted by the entire US team in the 2006 World Cup didn't help to build Donovan's national profile shall we say.

Oh well, he's a nice player who will never do anything outside of the US and except for a few World Cup games and qualifiers against the assorted garbage in CONCACAF.

As Lee Corso would see (assuming he knows what soccer is), "not so fast my friend." Donovan still plays for the LA Galaxy but his most recent loan to Everton-a middling team in the English Premier League-and performance last summer in the Confederations Cup is proof that Landon is a new man.

No longer does he crumble on the big stage against the quality opponents. He was the US' best player last summer vs. superpowers Spain and Brazil (ever heard of them?). And when the US plays at Mexico, who do the Mexican fans hate the most? Landon Donovan. They wouldn't hate a scrub so our neighbors to the South might be onto something.

So while players like Clint Mathis, DeMarcus Beasley and Eddie Johnson have caught our eyes for a fleeting moment, its time to give it up for a guy that has kept working and is proof that there are good American soccer players scattered around the world.

Honduras expose U.S. depth problems in 3-1 win

Charlie Davies, Clint Dempsey, Oguchi Onyewu, Jermaine Jones, and Jay DeMerit - the injury list it seems has been every growing for the U.S. team of late and it's not unreasonable to think there could be a few more additions before the start of the World Cup in June (something will we get into next week more in depth).

That's why last Saturday's game vs. Honduras was so important for the men's national team (MNT), it was a chance for Bob Bradley to assess many of the fringe players and see what kind of depth his team may have for what will eventually be the 23-man roster in South Africa.

The 3-1 thrashing at the hands of the of the first-string Hondurans was troubling on many levels despite a second-class U.S. team leaving more questions than answers for Bradley.

Like previously stated though none of the top 11 players were on hand to participate in the friendly exhibition, many players like Jimmy Conrad, Kyle Beckerman, Jonathan Bornstein, Benny Feilhaber (pictured above), Sacha Kljestan, Robbie Rogers, Jeff Cunningham, and Conor Casey are all players that are under serious consideration to fill out the roster and potentially even start should there be any more injury issues.

With the exception of perhaps Bornstein, who played relatively well at the left back position, and a generally solid effort by Beckerman at the holding midfield the MNT looked largely uninspired in its play.
The first major problem was the second yellow card handed Conrad in the 17th minute after the center back dragged down his man in the box instituting an immediate red card ejection.

This caused all sorts of issues not only because Carlos Pavon (pictured above) converted the ensuing penalty kick not once but twice (Honduras breached the box too son on his first conversion causing a re-kick), but from the standpoint that the U.S. had to drastically alter its formations.

What was an experiment to begin with quickly turned into an exercise of playing many players out of position such as Rogers who was asked to man the entire left flank as Bornstein was pushed into the middle.

Although the U.S. was able to push forward and earn several corners, on most occasions Cunningham was left to play by himself without any numbers in support the few times he was able to touch the ball. Feilhaber and Kljestian, two players the Americans were relying on to impose some kind of creative fortitude never delivered.
Honduras on the other hand had no problem sitting back and waiting for Feilhaber and the U.S. midfield to turn over the ball, and when they did the crafty Hondurans were there to make the MNT pay on the counter attack. After a Feilhaber sloppy five away in the 29th minute Honduras just missed an easy tap-in that goalie Troy Perkins was left for dead. In the 36th minute, another good combination by the Hondurans ended with another solid shot that whisked just left of the goal.

But in the 37th minute Pavon made the Americans pay again, this time unlocking the defense with a perfectly weighted pass between central defenders Chad Marshall and Bornstein for the diving header goal from Jerry Palacious. As was the case for much of the game, right back Marvell Wynne was burned on the play and left his defense scrambling on the play. It was a deserved ending to disastrous U.S. first half.

The second half opened with a bit more possession for the U.S. in the offensive end of the field, and Rogers nearly got the MNT back in the game with a long-range missile that rattled the post. However, Roger Espinoza put the finishing touches on the third Honduras goal after some brilliant triangle combination passing on the left side of the box.

Clarence Goodson (pictured right) would provide little consolation scoring the lone U.S. goal on a header off a corner by beating the Honduran keeper to the ball.

But what was most evident on the night was the chemistry between the players on the pitch was not there, communication and knowing where the runs were supposed to be were not there.

Chalk up the loss due to a second-class squad or due to Conrad's red very early in the game, which forced many U.S. players out of position.

In my opinion Honduras first-team was better when both teams were at even strength, and were far better up a man. That's not an issue very deep teams like England (who the U.S. open with), or Brazil or Holland or Germany or Spain or Italy or Argentina or the Ivory Coast or Portugal have to contend with. Put any one of those country's second string squad against the first-string Hondurans, and they would certainly put the tiny central American nation back on its heels. Unfortunately the U.S. clearly does not have that type of fire power.

Going down a man is something the U.S. may have to contend with at the World Cup like they did against Italy in the last World Cup because the MNT will certainly curry no favor as a decided under dog against the world's best.

Perhaps more will be learned from their next upcoming match late February with El Salvador when again many of the second string U.S. players will get their chances to make an impression. But come March 3 when the U.S. travels to Amsterdam to take on the Netherlands, the World Cup team should be in place. Until then it will be an interesting wait and see game.

Friday, January 29, 2010

How many jerseys are in your closet?

Seven is my answer.

But the reason I ask is because I think the answer reveals a lot about a person's soccer fandom. Most obviously what teams a person is into or who their favorite player might be. But also what country a person might be from, where a person's ancestry may lie, where a person may have traveled to, what position they might have played, how many years a person may have been following the game or when they may have become a fan, what type of football a person may be into or what footballing philosophies they might believe in, what level of fan that person may be about the sport, and lastly what type of sucker they might be for spending so much money on an item of clothing that is not "work dress code appropriate" because these things aren't cheap.

I bought my first jersey just after the 1994 world cup with about 10 week's allowance. It was Jurgen Klinsmann's 1994 Germany World Cup away jersey pictured here to your right. I now have over 25 jerseys in my collection from four different continents and at least 14 different teams, some of which are draped on my walls as decorations, some of which were retired years ago into drawers or attic space that I will probably never see again, some of which were lost, some of which were given away, and some of which are still a part of my regular wardrobe.

I have a tie between two teams for the most amount of jerseys I own of one team, the German national team and Bayern Munich, at five apiece. The player I own the most jerseys of is Fernando Torres with two.

If your scoring at home, yes Germany is my favorite national team outside of the U.S. and yes Bayern Munich is my favorite European club. No Fernando Torres is not my favorite player, but he is one of my favorite players at the position I grew up playing - forward. Klinsmann is my all-time favorite player, having played on the first team that I ever followed closely, the 1990 World Cup winning Germany side. He scored a slew of ridiculously amazing goals during the '94 Cup in the states and amassed 11 World Cup goals in all. Check out them out:

With 25 jerseys I would say I am a soccer fanatic, you probably already guessed that considering we are starting a U.S. World Cup blog in one of the only countries in the world where soccer is not the most popular sport and may rank as low as fifth, sixth or seventh depending on who you talk to.

Some other aspects about myself I will divulge as it relates to the jerseys I own - I also have Irish heritage, I believe the English Premier League is the best league in the world, I have traveled to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and England, and I believe in the free-flowing offensive tactics that teams like Brazil, Arsenal, and Barcelona institute in their general play. I'm also obviously that bozo that teams know will buy their jersey after they change it every season, but I've just kind of rationalized collecting jerseys in my mind as a last hobby.

Anyway that is some of my own background as it relates to my fandom through my jersey collection. Anything else you may wish to know, drop me a line in the comment section or feel free to email at

Announcing our presence with authority

You might wonder how we came up with the name "Red, White, and Blue Army" for a United State national team soccer blog.

The concept was really quite simple. Many of the European football clubs' massive fan groups call themselves the color of their team plus army.

For instance the Arsenal fans, my favorite team from the English Premier League, call themselves "Red Army." And no its not because they have any ties to communism. Their fans can be heard for blocks on their plight to north London's Emirates Stadium or in pubs and restaurants after games chanting "red army, red army, red army" every game day.

Although many of the men's national team (MNT) followers call themselves "Sam's Army" we wanted our own creative slogan. Hence "Red, White, and Blue Army."

Mission Statement

The beautiful game is an incredible passion of mine and the formation of this blog Red, White, and Blue Army was my idea to help bring together and inform soccer followers around the states with what is going on with their favorite teams and players.

The primary focus of this blog will center on the U.S. National Team hence Red White and Blue Army. But with the partnership of my friend Rich Slate, we hope to share with you soccer links from our favorite websites, give you first-hand information from first-person sources and experts, and of course share our opinions on the happenings from around the globe.

We hope this forum will be one of the first sites you can come to for daily updates as well as a place where you can share your own thoughts. Please feel free to comment on our posts and e-mail Rich or myself your observations, criticisms, what you might like to see covered, what could be better, and what you think works. But also please remember that this is a format that will hopefully be seen by many people including kids, so do not use foul, abusive, or other inflammatory language that might offend some people.

This site is not possible without you the reader and my hope is you will get as much out this site as we enjoy putting into it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


This is a quick Test, Test, Test to see how the blog is working.