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.
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.
So you may have heard there was some snow in Denver tonight for the USA vs. Costa Rica Hex World Cup Qualifier. Dempsey gave the U.S. the 1-0 win.
With the U.S. Men's National Team busy preparing for their World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica tomorrow night (7pm PT, ESPN), KICKTV has put together this very nice primer on just what the Hexagonal is. In short, it's the long and difficult pathway for CONCACAF teams to qualify for the World Cup.
Elsewhere in the Hex, Timbers forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts go to battle for Jamaica as they take on Panama in Kingston on Friday evening at 6:30pm PT. Updates throughout the match can be found via the Jamaican Football Federation's Twitter feed @ItsTheJFF.
Over in Africa, Futty Danso joined the Scorpions of The Gambia National Team for a World Cup qualifier on Saturday against Ivory Coast. In a tune-up friendly this week against Niger, Danso scored the second goal in a 3-1 win.
Also in action tomorrow is Timbers midfielder Will Johnson whose Canadian Men's National Team is in Qatar for a friendly against Japan.
Good afternoon from the Doha Sports City in Qatar. The facilities are immaculate. twitter.com/WillJohnson04/…
— Will Johnson (@WillJohnson04) March 19, 2013
Follow @CanadaSoccerEN for updates tomorrow beginning at 9am PT.
After a tense opening, it was a rollicking show in KC last night as the USMNT moved on to the hexagonal round of World Cup qulaifying with a 3-1 win over Guatemala:
Timbers Army were also represented at LIVESTRONG Park:
— Chris Brewer (@iamchrisbrewer) October 17, 2012
After a summer that saw Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and defender Ian Hogg both spend a good deal of time with the New Zealand national team in friendlies, the Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup, and London 2012 Olympics, it should come as no surprise that the duo are already eyeing qualification for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
FIFA.com took a look at the pair with an eye towards the numerous new players coming up through the New Zealand ranks.
“My time will come,” Gleeson, New Zealand’s third-choice goalkeeper, told FIFA.com. “I’m still young and I have plenty of time to grow. The junior sides are a good platform, but the step up in quality from there to the All Whites is still very big.”
Hogg also chimed in:
“The competition is improving in Oceania, where teams are unpredictable and players don’t really stick to their positions,” he continued. “So we know that our concentration and intensity has to be absolutely spot-on. New players have come in, and it will take a bit of time for things to gel. But we’ll see a much better New Zealand team in the near future.”
It's a nice piece about the numerous changes happening in the New Zealand side and how the infusion of youth--and the patience required with said youth--could play a big part in the All Whites World Cup campaign.
With 2014 World Cup qualifiers happening this weekend, there's an interesting CONCACAF clash today with two Timbers involved. Tonight at 7pm PT, defender Steve Purdy will take to the field with La Selecta of El Salvador as they travel to Costa Rica to take on Timbers teammate midfielder/defender Rodney Wallace and his Ticos.
For Purdy and El Salvador, it will be a tall order. Over the course of 71 years and 19 games, El Salvador has never won in Costa Rica.
The Central American footballing history between the two nations runs deep. In the Independence Contenary Games in Guatemala City in 1921, which was Costa Rica's national debut, the Ticos defeated El Salvador 7-0. Costa Rica has also qualified for the World Cup three times in their history with their most recent trip in 2006.
Purdy’s El Salvador looks to turn their luck around tonight against a team they've had some tough losses including most recently in 2007 UNCAF Nations Cup. El Salvador, the host nation that year, advanced to the semifinals at the top of Group 1, but lost 2-0 to Costa Rica who would eventually move on to be champions. Neither Wallace nor Purdy featured in that tournament but you can bet their respective teams' fans will remember.
Moreover, La Selecta hasn't been to the World Cup since 1982.
With this initial qualifier on the line, both teams look to move onto their next opponents. Following tonight's match, Costa Rica and El Salvador will see their next game on June 12, when Costa Rica will face Guyana and El Salvador will meet Mexico.
Both Purdy and Wallace have been making periodic updates on Twitter about their travels and international play. Give them a follow at @rodwallace22 and @spurdy25 respectively. Who do you think will win?