The USMNT is back in action tonight as they take on Costa Rica in World Cup Qualifying (7pm PT, beIN Sport). Currently sitting atop the group with 13 points, the Yanks are eager to further distance themselves from the second place Ticos who lay two points behind on 11.
Gamesmanship has run high all week in the lead-up to the match with reports that the Costa Rican authorities wouldn't provide training soccer balls, cow mascots interrupting Jurgen Klinsmann press conferences and much more all as a kind of payback for the memorable snow game qualifier on U.S. soil in Colorado. In near whiteout conditions. The USMNT defeated Costa Rica 1-0 back in March and Costa Rica protested bitterly about the blizzard-like conditions.
KICKTV's excellent series on qualification, aptly named The Hex, has traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica to witness the proceedings. It should be a great match.
Have you seen Darlington Nagbe all over town? He's been popping up swimming, hiking, hitting the Gorge and more.
Keep submitting your #NagbePhotobomb images on Instagram and Twitter and you could win a VIP game experience and meet the REAL Nagbe after a match courtesy of CenturyLink. Don't have a mask? Never fear you can download one right here.
— Scott Lenhardt (@scottlenhardt) August 5, 2013
— Ryan Pollard (@rdpollard) August 5, 2013
As you know, Portland Timbers team captain Will Johnson took part in last week's 2013 MLS All-Star Game activities in Kansas City. Over the course of the week, Johnson trained with fellow All-Stars, helped out at an MLS WORKS event and was part of the Starting XI in the All-Stars 3-1 loss to Serie A's AS Roma.
Late night host Jimmy Fallon took notice. Rather than go the traditional route of naming an MVP award, Fallon took a different tack:
NBC Sports Network debuts English Premier League soccer in just a few weeks.
"Combine the Galaxy's stature and the teams' place in the standings (Portland now second in the West; LA fourth), Saturday may have been one of the best shows in Major League Soccer history."
The always excellent London-based newspaper, The Guardian, wrote about the Portland-LA match in their weekly "5 Things We Learned About MLS" feature. While there is no doubt the ending was the stuff of Portland legend, Guardian writer Richard Farley writes that the game also had an impact beyond just where the teams are in the standings, "On Saturday, when Portland claimed one of their most important wins in franchise history, the Timbers and Galaxy forced us to pause and consider how far the league's come."
The Backcut Podcast: Taylor Twellman on USMNT, Gold Cup, MLS & his organization Think Taylor. Also: Big Heads vs. Red Heads
Taylor Twellman. The very name evokes images of MLS Legend and flair as a 5-time MLS All-Star and 2005 MLS MVP who scored a whopping 101 goals in 174 matches for the New England Revolution.
Since retired, Twellman has become one of the top analysts for ESPN soccer broadcasts alongside Adrian Healey—you heard him this past weekend on the Timbers-FC Dallas match—as well as the equally opinionated Big Head to Alexi Lalas’ Red Head on the aptly named ESPN Big Head Red Head Podcast.
But Twellman has also become a leading spokesperson around increased awareness of and improved care around traumatic brain injuries through his foundation Think Taylor. During the course his time as a player, Twellman suffered a series of concussions that curtailed his soccer career. Think Taylor looks to help tell his story and provide a support system for athletes across all sports and ages who suffer concussions and their after effects.
I sat down with Twellman this past weekend to talk about his thoughts on the recent run of U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifiers that he has been covering for ESPN, how he thinks Jurgen Klinsmann will utilize this summer’s Gold Cup tournament in furthering development around the U.S. team and how the Think Taylor Foundation is changing people’s perceptions around concussions. We also discuss the three biggest stories in MLS so far (Spoiler: The Timbers are one of them) and renew the age old debate: Big Head vs. Red Head.
Be sure to tune in to tonight’s U.S. – Honduras match at 6pm on ESPN and don’t forget to get tickets for the USMNT when they come to JELD-WEN Field for the Gold Cup on July 9.
The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.
Leaving North Carolina was hard, but loving Portland is easy. How Cindy Parlow Cone came to Thorns FC
"It's an interesting challenge to create a team from nothing," Parlow Cone said. "In my previous experiences, we always had a core. In college, you lost the seniors and gained the freshmen, but you always had a core group and you built around them. Here, we had none of that."
The 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup continues tonight with the Portland Timbers taking on the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the fourth round (7:30pm PT; Tickets, webstream, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940).
Matches are going on across the country tonight with the Chicago Fire hosting the Columbus Crew and it is with the Fire that a Chicago piece of Open Cup legend was born with now Timbers assistant coach Amos Magee.
In a 2001 quarterfinal game against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, then Fire head coach Bob Bradley subbed Magee on late and he scored a 114th minute gamewinner using, well . . . his chest.
Hear him tell the story to Chicago-Fire.com:
There is a certain art to diplomacy--particularly when it comes to a classic soccer scarf.
In the case of Chicago-Fire.com editor Jeff Crandall--a diplomat well-versed in the in's and out's of supporters scarf culture--it should come as no surprise that when he happened upon a flight attendant who was a diehard Timbers Army supporter, that an exchange of scarves would happen--mid-flight, no less.
"There are more than a few cities in the country where people love soccer but they're not selling out every game. Clearly, [Portland is] the flagship team in the league," - Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
In a look into the success of the Portland Thorns as a new franchise in a new National Women's Soccer League, espnW's Melissa Isaacson takes a closer look into the buzz and growth of the new club and its impact on the American soccer landscape.
Soccer City, U.S.A. indeed.