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October 10, 2012

Castillo out for both USMNT qualifiers, Johnson to join team in KC


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U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann must be feeling a bit of deja vu right now.

As was the case in the United States' first World Cup qualifier against Antigua & Barbuda back in June, Klinsmann will be without both first-choice left backs, Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo, for the Americans visit to Antigua this coming Friday. Castillo has been sidelined by a foot injury and will miss both upcoming World Cup qualifiers while Johnson, who is suffering from a flu, is expected to join the team prior to their match against Guatemala next Tuesday.

“Obviously it’s a difficult situation losing Fabian for the Antigua game and Edgar being unavailable for both," Klinsmann told "We were in a similar situation for the first match against Antigua & Barbuda in June, and we will be prepared.

“Fabian has been ill since the weekend, and we were waiting to see if he would be healthy enough to join us in Miami. At this point, it is in everyone’s best interest to allow him to fully recover from his illness and come into Kansas City ready to play against Guatemala.” 

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A mature, focused Eddie Johnson set for USMNT return

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It has been a long and winding road back to the National team for Eddie Johnson.

Once considered the next great American forward, the 28-year-old striker has since seen his career come to a near halt as four nomadic years in Europe and an unsuccessful jaunt with Puebla FC of Liga MX derailed his progress.  Confidence became a clear issue, and the lack of playing time only compounded his woes.

Nearly a year since his confounding stay South of the Border, Johnson finds himself amongst Major League Soccer’s top goal scorers with 14 tallies over 26 games. A change of scenery, a return home, some self improvement and a supportive Sounders staff have brought him back to the place where his career took off – the U.S. National Team.

“I’m 28 years old now,” Johnson said.  “I’m a lot more mature. I’m a student of the game and you can never stop learning the game. My biggest thing, and a sports psychologist told me, ‘Eddie, you’re your own enemy.’ Sometimes I think I put too much pressure on myself and it shows in my game. (But) I learned how to relax more and control what I can control and not let others emotions affect or dictate my play in the game.”

“I think as you get older you get smarter as a player,” he said.  “You are always learning as a soccer player.  I think my time in Europe, I always told myself ‘man, the game is simple at the end of the day but sometimes you over think things and make the game harder than it really is.’”

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Johnson's flu adds to mounting USMNT woes


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Add Fabian Johnson to the list of players who could be sidelined for the U.S. Men's National Team's upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Johnson is currently suffering from a flu infection and is expected to miss out on Friday's trip to Antigua & Barbuda, according to German outlet Kicker. Johnson's status for next Tuesday's home game at Livestrong Sporting Park against Guatemala is also in question because of the flu.

The report makes it seem as if Johnson is not currently training with the U.S. in Miami, stating that he could join them this weekend if he recovers from the flu. U.S. Soccer did not respond to the validity of that in an immediate inquiry.

If Johnson is out, he would join Landon Donovan and Brek Shea as players called into this camp that will be unavailable for the final two games of this round of qualifying. It would also leave head coach Jurgen Klinsmann with one less option to deploy out wide, which might force him to call in some replacements.

Jermaine Jones has also arrived in camp carrying an injury.

What do you make of this development? Is it time for Klinsmann to summon some replacements? Who would you like to see Klinsmann turn to if Johnson can't play?

Share your thoughts below.

SBI Men's College Soccer Top 25 (Oct. 10th)


If anyone still had questions about Marquette's legitimacy as a national power this year, those questions were answered over the weekend, when the Golden Panthers toppled unbeaten UConn, the No. 1 team in the SBI College Soccer Top 25 at the time.

Marquette handed the Huskies their first loss of the season to not only maintain one of only two perfect records in the nation (Cornell holding the other), it also cemented Marquette's status as a serious contender for the Big East title and a potential NCAA run later this year.

Out West, we saw UCSB, UCLA and New Mexico all suffer defeats, with Washington and Cal-State Northridge benefiting from the upsets to secure their own places in the latest SBI Top 25. 

The biggest mover in the new rankings is VCU, which debuts at No. 20 after a 4-1 mauling of Charlotte. Other teams that enjoyed big jumps are unbeaten Xavier and surprising Elon.

Here is the latest SBI Men's Soccer Top 25:

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Mid-day Ticker: Rapids' Pickens out for the season; Fellaini sidelined; and more


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Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens will see his 75-match appearance streak end due to a groin injury that will force him out of the club's final two matches.

Pickens had the longest active streak in MLS before getting injured in Saturday's game against San Jose. He was replaced in the 69th minute by Stew Ceus.

Rapids coach Oscar Pareja said he doesn't expect Pickens to play any more this season and will go with Ceus or Ian Joyce in goal the rest of the way for the Rapids, who are out of playoff contention.

Pickens, 30, has a career high 107 saves this season. He also has the record for most consecutive matches played in Rapids' history.  

Here are some more soccer stories making the rounds: 

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SBI MLS Best XI (Week 31)

EspindolaBeatsLA (Getty)

It was a good week in MLS for playoff-bound forwards. 

Fabian Espindola, Sherjill MacDonald and Chris Wondolowski are all key figures on teams heading into the MLS playoffs, and all three showed they are ready for post-season glory as they each turned in outstanding performances over the weekend.

Espindola, MacDonald and Wondolowski all scored multiple goals to lead their teams to important victories, and all three earned SBI MLS Best XI honors in the process.

FC Dallas is still trying to make the playoffs, and while their chances are slim at this point, the only reason they have any chance at all is the heroics of goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who made several key saves to help Dallas salvage a point against Chivas USA.

Eddie Gaven did his part to help the Columbus Crew keep their playoff hopes alive, scoring a vital late equalizer to earn the Crew a precious point against Sporting Kansas City.

For the second straight week we had so many outstanding performances by forwards that some very deserving candidates fell just short of the Best XI. This week, Philadelphia's Jack McInerney barely missed the cut, while Seattle's Fredy Montero was also a worthy option who came up just short.

Here is the rest of the SBI MLS Best XI for Week 31:

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After repeated snubs, Klinsmann didn't bother calling Chandler this time around


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After repeated attempts to call him into the U.S. Men's National team this year, only to be turned down on more than one occasion, It appears U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has grown tired of Timmy Chandler's unwillingness to commit to the U.S. national team.

Chandler's absence from this month's U.S. roster is not because the fullback denied a call-up, but rather because Klinsmann did not offer him an invitation, sources at Chandler's club team, Nuremberg, told SBI on Wednesday.

Chandler told SBI last month that he was open to receiving a call-up and getting cap-tied to the United States during the October qualifiers, but Klinsmann apparently did not deem it necessary to select the 22-year-old fullback.

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College Soccer Rewind: Northwestern upends Notre Dame; Maryland edges Rutgers; and more


The Big East Conference is widely-regarded as the strongest men's soccer conference in the nation this year, but Northwestern scored a big one for the Big Ten on Tuesday night by knocking off Notre Dame in the evening's only battle of teams ranked in the SBI Top 25.

First-half goals by Joey Calistri and Lepe Setane helped the No. 19 Wildcats knock off the No. 9 Fighting Irish, 2-0, in Evanston, Illinois.

The victory, which should help Northwestern move up in the new SBI Top 25, which will be released later today, improves the Wildcats' record to 8-2-2 while the loss drops Notre Dame to 10-3.

In other action on Tuesday night, No. 1 UConn rebounded from their first loss of the season to beat Iona, while likely new No. 1 Maryland rallied from an early deficit to knock off Rutgers. No. 24 Cornell posted another impressive victory to remain one of only two teams in the nation with a perfect record. The other perfect team, Marquette, edged Northern Illinois, 1-0.

Here is a rundown of all of Tuesday's top scores, as well as a look back at results from the weekend in men's college soccer.

Continue reading "College Soccer Rewind: Northwestern upends Notre Dame; Maryland edges Rutgers; and more" »

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