By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN’s Soccer Roundup
MIAMI — The U.S. Olympic and MLS All-Star teams were named over the past week. We’ll speak on these developments as well as the Super Liga.
2008 US Olympic Team
Wth the Olympics less than amonth away, the United States Soccer Federation named the side which will compete for a gold medal in Beijing.
Olympic sides are limited to players under 23 years of age with three overage exceptions and five up and coming Black players were among those named to represent the United States in China.
Freddy Adu, the young midfielder currently playing with Benfica in Portugal was named to the squad as was Maurice Edu, the 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year from Toronto FC. They are joined in the midfield by players such as Chivas USA’s Sacha Kljestan, Michael Bradley of SC Heerenveen and Stuart Holden of the Houston Dynamo.
Another Toronto FC player, Marvell Wynne II, a former #1 MLS pick figures to see significant playing time on the right side defense. Other defenders include Michael Parkhurst of the New England Revolution and Michael Orozco of Mexican side San Luis.
Josmer Altidore, the Boca Raton raised striker who recently left MLS to join Spanish side Villareal was named as a forward and will likely be the focal point of the offense. His inclusionhowever, has been overshadowed by the international return of Brian McBride, chosen as one of the three overage players (along with Parkhurst and GK Brad Guzan).
McBride, who retired from international play after the 2006 World Cup as the US’ third all-time leading scorer will bring experience to the front line. Sweden based forward Charlie Davies, another Black player, was also named to the squad along with MLS standout Robbie Rogers.
The US have been drawn into a difficult group with Nigeria, Japan and the Netherlands and opens play on August 7 at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Tianjin.
2008 MLS All-Stars
The 2008 MLS All-Stars were also named over the past week. This year’s All-Stars will square off against English Premiere side West Ham United Thursday night at BMO Field in Toronto (ESPN 8pm). Players such as David Beckham, CuauhtÃ©moc Blanco, Landon Donovan and 2007 Caribbean Footballer of the Year Shalrie Joseph of the New England Revolution were all named to the First XI while the backups include Galaxy forward Edson Buddle who is enjoying a career renaissance season in LA.
I’ve written elsewhere that this is fast becoming an irrellevant match, especially in light of the US Open Cup and the Superliga (see below) and some of the snubs such as GK Jon Busch in Columbus and DC United’s Luiciano Emilio have raised eye brows. But the match is a way to showcase to the country the league’s best talent and if you’re not familiar with anyone outside of David Beckham, check it out.
DC United aside, MLS sides have been holding their own against Mexican competition in this year’s edition of the SuperLiga with Chivas USA, Houston Dynamo and the New England Revolution all scoring victories.
The competition features four teams from the Mexican First Division and MLS who compete for a $1 million prize. The Revolution and Dynamo qualified for the semifinals while Chivas USA was eliminated only on goal differential.
Though the Mexican sides are still in their pre-season, they appear to be taking these matches seriously while MLS wants to continue to prove that it can play with sides who have traditionally dominated any international competition in CONCACAF.
The matches have been very competitive and MLS sides are certainly not playing scared. Pachuca are the defending SuperLiga champions but MLS will look to claim an international title for the first time in eight years by winning this competition.
The semifinal matches are being televised on the Spanish language network Telefutura July 28th and 29th.
MLS Scoreboard Columbus Crew 3 (Barros Schelotto 26′ Moreno 33′ Marshall 38′) KC Wizards 3 (Hejduk 22′og Espinoza 24′ Wolff 75′)
Toronto FC 0 SJ Earthquakes 0
RBNY 2 (van de Bergh 35′ Angel 71′) LA Galaxy 2 (Ruiz 29′ Donovan 90+2)
FC Dallas 2(Cooper 49′pk Toja 64′) Col. Rapids 2 (Gomez 5′ Casey 67′)
Chicago Fire 0 R. Salt Lake 0
Get out and play soccer!