Posts Tagged ‘ World Cup 2010 ’

United States–Club and Country

US Flag

USMNT Kits: A collarborative effort celebrating the awful and amazing kits for the USMNT.

2016 US Kits

MLS Crests

Solutions (Thoughts on US kit design)

A Call to Action (rant on US shirts)

Seattle Sounders Change Shirt 2013 and 2014

BYOB Edition (Michigan Bucks 2012)

X Factor Edition (USMNT Away 2010)

LFK Edition (United States Home 2004/2005)

Tampa Bay Mutiny Home 2000

Floater Edition (DC United 3rd 1997)

First Time Edition (DC United Home 1996)



Strip Club–X Factor Edition



Starting this post with thoughts on the shirt. Here are my thoughts from the USMNT kit series I did ahead of the 2014 World Cup:

Top five for sure.  Navy blue.  Check.  White sash that contrasts nicely with the rest of the shirt.  Check. I own this one, have it personalized (Junior #7) and wear it a lot.  Love it.

Not much more to say than that.  The shirt looks and feels great, and the all navy blue strip is solid and one of Nike’s best efforts.  It made my top 5 US kits and is in the top 10 of my personal collection.

For a little history before USMNT players pulled the shirt on . . .

I remember watching the US game against Mexico in the summer of 2009.  Charlie Davies scored early and there was a brief moment when it looked the Azteca hoodoo might be broken.  Unfortunately the Stars and Stripes wilted in the heat and lost 2-1.  Despite that result, the US ended up winning the Hex, and the World Cup draw months later saw the Bob Bradley’s men drawn in a group with England, Slovenia and Algeria.  Hopes were high as there were far tougher groups at the Finals.

For this post, I wanted to know what kind of changes, if any, there were from the Qualifying Roster to the Final 23 for South Africa.  The resulting research was quite remarkable.  Based on records from US Soccer for 2009, Bob Bradley used over 50 players for Hexagonal Qualifiers, Confederations Cup, Gold Cup and friendlies.  Some players I had never heard of before:  Logan Pause, Sam Cronin, Ugo Ihemelu, John Thorrington, Chris Wingert to name a few.  What I found really interesting was that several players who put in big minutes getting the Stars and Strips to South Africa didn’t get a ticket on the plane.  Charlie Davies and Brian Ching stood out while Hejduk, Casey and Kljestan were notable absentees.  Davies did not participate because of the injury due to a car crash right before the last Qualifier but I would need some USMNT experts to explain the rest.  Another stat I came across was that Robbie Findley, Herculez Gomez, Edson Buddle, and Marcus Hahnemann, were not used in 2009 yet made the team.  Seem to remember that Findley and Buddle were doing well in MLS that year and Hahnemann was the third keeper with a lot of experience.

In thinking back to the group opener against England, all I could remember was Robert Green’s howler for Dempsey’s equalizer.  Watching the highlights again, I was stunned by the finish from Gerrard.  Hung around the edge of the penalty, saw the chance and the flicked it with the outside of foot.  There were plenty of chances in the game and both teams had chances to win it but players fluffed their lines (looking at you Heskey and Altidore).

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The second game saw another European opponent in Slovenia.  (Highlights)  Birsa found space between the lines and punished the US early and then the Slovenians doubled their advantage right before halftime.  It appeared as if the US was booking a plane back to the States when Donovan roofed in the first goal.  The proceeding pressure resulted in a second goal from Michael Bradley.  Then came the moment of controversy when the referee waved off Edu’s apparent winner.

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Algeria was the opponent for the final group match.  If I recreated this right, a   win for the US would have sent them through, draws in both matches would have seen the US through on goals scored (unless England had a high scoring draw against Slovenia), and a loss would have out them out.

W            D             L              P             GF          GA

Slovenia                1              1              0              4              3              2

US                          0              2              0              2              3              3

England                0              2              0              2              1              1

Algeria                  0              1              1              0              0              1

Everyone remembers Donovan’s winner but I don’t think fans remember how close the US came to getting knocked out early when Algeria hit the cross bar and England went up early against Slovenia.  Watching the highlights I was struck by how close Dempsey was on several occasions.  The narrative is one of Donovan as last minute hero, but Deuce could have been the main protagonist in the history books with a little more precision and/or luck.

In the round of 16, the US met Ghana, who had survived a group of Germany, Serbia and Australia.  Five minutes into the match Ricardo Clark got stripped by KPB and he hit a grass cutter past Tim Howard and for the third time in the tournament, the US was behind.  During the highlights I noticed that DeMerit struggled in this match and was reminded that Robbie Findley was part of this squad.  Whatever happened to him?  As time ticked on in the second half I wondered if the equalizer would ever come. Fifteen minutes in, Dempsey won a penalty which Donovan confidently converted, hitting it home off the post.

Kingson had a good game in goal for the Black Stars as the US had lots of good chances in the second half, but the 90 minutes ended deadlocked, which meant that an additional thirty minutes would be required.  Just minutes into extra time Asamoah Gyan split Bocanegra and DeMerit and slammed the ball home to put Ghana up again.  The Yanks had no more bullets in the chamber and bowed out to the Africans.



Thanks to YouTube, Wikipedia and US Soccer for the information and video to put this post together.

MatchDay Memory: Luis Suarez Then and Now Part II (Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz)

Imagine a time in the distant future when a player named Luis Enrique joins FC Barcelona or a new Hughes is signed by Manchester United.  That player will inevitably be compared to their predecessor, with the shadow of former glory always hovering around the player.  For Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz, who joined FC Barcelona in the summer of 2014, not only was he not the first Luis Suarez to have played for the Blaugrana, but he will probably not be as successful in terms of trophies as his predecessor.  On top of this, he also comes with his own unique baggage.

Part I  Luis Suarez Miramontes


Moving forward fifty years, the talent of El Pistolero or Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz is undeniable.  From the streets of Salto and Montevideo in Uruguay, Luis Suarez used the beautiful game to escape poverty, eventually securing a spot with Nacional in Uruguay.  After growing as a player and making a name for himself at Nacional, where he helped the club win the 2005–06 Uruguayan League, he was discovered by Dutch club FC Groningen.  As Michiel Jongsma tells the story for, club representatives were visiting Nacional to look at Elías Figueroa.  They left trying to figure out how to sign Luis Suarez, with the player also looking for a move, as his girlfriend, Sofia Balbi, had moved to Barcelona to study.  So at 19, Suarez headed to Holland, played for Groningen, and averaged nearly a goal every three games.

Ajax came calling and Suarez forced his move to the Dutch giants, scoring over 100 goals in three and a half seasons.  Suarez never won the league in a full season with de Godenzonen, but he did help the club to the 2010 Dutch Cup.  It was during the 2009/10 season that Suarez scored 49 goals in all competitions and won the Dutch Player of the Year award. European success eluded both the club and player during his time there, with their best finish coming in the 2008/09 Europa League in which the squad got to the Round of 16.


During the winter transfer window of 2011, the Uruguayan player moved to Liverpool with Fernando Torres going to Chelsea.  His arrival was part of a rebuilding project for the storied club, along with Andy Carroll from Newcastle, which finally paid dividends during the 2013/14 season as Suarez’s partnership with Daniel Sturridge saw the Reds finish second and return to the Champions League after a four year absence.  His only silverware with the Merseyside club came in the 2012 League Cup Final.


Suarez made his International debut in 2007 and is currently Uruguay’s all-time leading scorer with 41 goals in 79 appearances as of the 2014 World Cup.  He was part of a wonderful cycle that saw Uruguay finish fourth at the 2010 World Cup, losing to the Holland in the Semi Finals.  The following year, La Celeste claimed the Copa America, with Suarez scoring four goals and being named the player of the tournament.  With that success, Uruguay qualified for the 2013 Confederations Cup, making it to the Semis before falling at the hands of the hosts Brazil.

Luis_Suarez uruguay

Heading into the 2014 World Cup, El Pistolero only played two matches after undergoing surgery after the 2013/14 season but knocked out England with two well taken goals, which set up a high pressure game against Italy in the third group game.  He did not score and was involved in an incident with Chiellini, but Uruguay progressed 1-0.  Suarez was suspended for the match against Colombia, who won to move on to the Quarter Finals.

MatchDay Memory–Summer 2013 Part Three: Reading

Last summer I read a lot of soccer books, but this summer I read a lot for a class rather than pure enjoyment.  To be clear the class I took, ISS 328 Culture of Soccer, was quite enjoyable.  The online course through Michigan State University took students through the history of the game, from historic games involving a ball of any kind right up to today and the increased commercialization the game faces at club and international level.  Most of the class interactions and all of my contributions can be found at my Culture of Soccer page, and I welcome any feedback or thoughts.

As a result of my learning about the South Africa World Cup, I checked out Mandela: The Authorized Biography by Anthony Sampson.  I vaguely remember the South African leader being released from prison and the book was a fascinating account of perseverance, forgiveness, vision and strength.

The only footy book I was able to read was the Biography of Manchester United. (Complete review here) Although the book was quite biased, I found great insight into the club from near financial ruin to its emergence as of Europe’s great club powers.

As for another club I follow, FC Barcelona, there was the sad news about the resignation of Tito Vilanova due to illness.  Gerardo Martino was summoned from Argentina to attempt to keep the Blaugrana machine rolling.  I spent some time trying to learn all I could about new FCB coach:  Olly Dawes on possible tactics; Lee Roden on key facts about new coach; Graham Hunter discussed Messi’s impact on the signing; and Joe Jessup on the manager’s playing and managerial history.

MatchDay Memory–Technical Difficulty

Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas (C) raises the trophy handed to him by FIFA President Sepp Blatter (4thR) and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma (3rdR) as Spain's national football team players celebrate winning the 2010 World Cup football final Netherlands vs. Spain on July 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. NO PUSH TO MOBILE / MOBILE USE SOLELY WITHIN EDITORIAL ARTICLE - TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

Adjectives to describe the 2010 World Cup Finals would not include the following: exciting, goal filled, fair.  There was plenty of tension and even a few surprises but overall the tournament produced very few amazing moments.  A year on, the only things I can remember are Tshabalala’s opening goal against Mexico for South Africa, Switzerland stunning Spain in their opening match, the French team debacle, the unbalanced performance of the US (which included Donovan’s goal against Slovenia), Van Bronckhorst’s goal against Uruguay, and de Jong’s ridiculous kick on Alonso.


But I said fair.  Yes. Ghana played their hearts out and were so close to representing their country and the continent in the semis.  Forget Suarez.  Gyan had a chance to win and missed. Mexico was handicapped by an Argentinean goal that looked to be well offside.  And how de Jong stayed on the pitch in the final beggars belief.  A straight red and immediate dismissal from the national team seemed pretty fair to me.  Then there was Lampard’s goal for England.  If it had counted instead of being IGNORED, the Three Lions may have gone on to keep Germany at bay and win instead of being ripped apart.  Maybe.  Then again maybe it goes to PK’s and we know how that would’ve ended.

Enough biased, uninformed commentary.  On the day of the final, the league I play brought the fixtures forward so that we could play in the early morning or lunch time and then go off to watch the Final live.  Good thinking.  Our team took care of business, took a shower and then reconvened at the bar to get ready for the game.

The Final itself was white knuckle stuff. Holland sacrificed a lot of their attacking verve to nullify the threat of the Spanish possession and attack.  Maybe if the Oranje had gone for it they would have been torn to pieces, but we’ll never know.  Instead Holland withdrew into a defensive shell and tried to hit Spain on the counter.  It almost paid off for them as La Furia Roja couldn’t score in a brothel, and Robben was released twice in the second half but couldn’t convert.

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An expected classic crawled toward penalty kicks, which would determine the World Champion yet again.  And then, then what?  The answer was Iniesta’s goal. . . but I missed it.  That’s right.  With just minutes to go before the final whistle, the screen froze and after staring at it in disbelief for a full minute, we finally got off our collective ass and tried to solve the problem.


The game was on ABC and due to DirecTV, that feed was our only local option.  Immediately the smart phones and iPods came out only for a roar to come from the opposite corner of the bar.  Running over, we were informed that the vampire had won the World Cup for Spain.  Moments later the feed was back up and we saw the referee end the match.  I missed the goal that ended years of Spanish suffering because of technology, which has failed me time and time again.  I didn’t even stick around for the trophy celebrations and just went home.

Here’s a word for the tournament:  underwhelming.  The Final put dried out frosting on a concrete cake.  Part of me wanted to give up the beautiful game that night but, as always, I returned.  By the time August rolled around, I snuck away from my family responsibilities to see Iniesta score a fantastic goal in the league against Racing Santander.  And already I am looking forward to the 2012 European Championships, knowing full well that the Final could be interrupted either on site like the Germany/Turkey semi in 2008 or due to some other issue like weather, satellites or sunspots.  Regardless, I’ll be back in front of the tube, anxious to see if Spain can maintain their dominance.