Tuesday, March 13

Stories Of The Day: Red, White, Blue & Green colors of the day

An unusually busy Monday with MLS action in the evening preceded by big news at the international level. Here are my top story selections for today:

No Real Change in Composition of Olympic Hopefuls: Sure, it seems like the world of US Soccer has changed a lot over the past couple years – in fact it looks reversed. The MNT is led by the German Jurgen Klinsmann and the U23 Olympic team by the American Caleb Porter while four years ago it was an American at the top and the Polish Peter Nowak heading up the Olympic team. But looking at the team heading into Olympic qualifying, surprisingly the composition has not changed very much. Campared to the 20-man roster for the 2008 Olympic squad, the 19-man list released today by Porter has the same number of MLS players in the mix: 13. Those coming in from abroad are a little more concentrated with three of the six coming in from Germany (1 each from Norway, Belgium and Mexico). Four years ago six players came in from five different foreign countries: Germany (2), Mexico, England, Portugal, Sweden. While Nowak has moved on to coach in MLS, ironically his Philadelphia Union player Freddy Adu is yet again on the U23 squad since he was 18 the last time around.
2008 Olympic Qualifying Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
DEFENDERS (6): Josh Gatt (Molde), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact), Jorge VillafaƱa (Chivas USA)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Gent; Oslo), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
2012 Olympic Qualifying Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Dominic Cervi (not under contract), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)

Corruption Comes Up Again with FIFA: Speaking of Olympic soccer, its organizing association FIFA was back in corruption headlines today for improper activity by its members surrounding the World Cup. In a case of old news resurfacing, Amadou Diakite and Ahongalu Fusimalohi saw their appeals of two-year suspensions fail today. There were caught by The Sunday Times of England instructing undercover journalists how to bribe FIFA officials. The bigger news, though, was the resignation today of Ricardo Teixeira, who has been the head of Brazilian soccer the past 23 years and, recently, the 2014 World Cup organizing committee. Though never officially charged with corruption, scandal has followed him for quite some time, making him a controversial figure in one of the sports’ most successful nations.

Brazilian great Romario, who was the co-leading scorer in the USL First Division in 2006 while playing for Miami FC, stated on Facebook and Twitter: “Today we can celebrate. We exterminated a cancer from Brazilian football. Finally, Ricardo Teixeira resigned.”

Timbers trump Philly in second half: In the final match of Opening Weekend, the Portland faithful did not disappoint on Monday Night Football… and neither did the team on the field. A lackluster match gave way to a dynamic night six minutes into the second stanza when Gabriel Gomez put the visiting Union on the board. The Timbers responded with three unanswered to match RSL as the only 3-goal outings on the weekend. Jack Jewsbury set up two goals, finding defender Andrew Baptiste for the equalizer and Kalif Alhassan for insurance. The second-year Alhassan set up much-heralded newcomer Kris Boyd for the winner in the 3-1 Portland victory.

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