The USA, which moved back into first place ahead of Costa Rica, officially
qualified for the World Cup for the seventh straight time after Panama lost to
Honduras an hour after the final whistle of its win.
"This is a huge, huge evening for all of us," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann
said. "It's a huge milestone whenever you make it to a World Cup."
Costa Rica, which beat the U.S. 3-1 on Friday and played to a shocking draw
with Jamaica earlier Tuesday, is in second place. Honduras is currently in third
followed by Panama in fourth Mexico in fifth.
The top three CONCACAF teams qualify for next year's 32-nation competition in
Brazil, and the fourth-place finisher will play in a one-game playoff with
Oceania winner New Zealand.
"This a team that could and should play better," said Mexico head coach Luis
Fernando Tena, who took over for Jose Manuel de la Torre on Saturday. "It has to
take a step forward if we want to make it to the World Cup."
The U.S. was without arguably the region's top player, Michael Bradley, who
sat out for the second straight game with an ankle injury. Three additional
Americans also missed the match because of yellow card accumulation: forward
Jozy Altidore, midfielder Geoff Cameron and defender Matt Besler.
Ahead of the game, Klinsmann called in four additional players, including
Clarence Goodson, who started in place of Besler in central defense along with
Omar Gonzalez. Fabian Johnson shifted from midfield to the back line opposite of
left back DaMarcus Beasley. Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey, Donovan, Alejandro
Bedoya and lone striker Johnson filled out the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Mexico opened the match with a different feel from Friday, when the team had
a late second-half collapse at home against Honduras for its second loss in the
Hexagonal that ultimately led to the firing of De la Torre. Hours later, he was
replaced by Tena, who put star striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez back in the
starting XI despite the striker coming off a hamstring injury.
After shifting much of their lineup from the Costa Rica loss, the Americans
looked a bit unsettled after kickoff. Mexico was on the attack early, forcing
goalkeeper Tim Howard to make a diving save on an attempt from Christian Giménez
in the 18th minute for the first scoring opportunity from either side in the
But after the nervy moment, Klinsmann's men calmed down and had some chances
of their own, with both Dempsey and Donovan getting into the box for shots that
were blocked by Mexican defenders. Johnson nearly had the opener off a corner
kick in the 32nd minute, but Mexico keeper Jesus Corona saved the attempt on the
The teams entered the half scoreless. But that wouldn't last long.
Playing with a sense of urgency in front of a raucous crowd, the U.S. came
out of the locker room much like Mexico did to open the game. However, the Stars
and Stripes were able to capitalize off of their surge when Johnson used his
head to slip one into El Tri's goal.
Johnson, who has reinvented himself on the U.S. national team after rejoining
MLS last year, sneaked into the middle off a corner kick delivered by Donovan,
beat Corona to the ball and headed it in to help the Americans move one step
closer to stamping their passports for Brazil.
Later in the half, Johnson was forced to leave the game with a head injury
after taking a nasty fall on the pitch while going up for a header midway
through the second half. He was replaced by Mix Diskerud, but it turned out the
loss of the team's best offensive player on the night wouldn't cause any
For insurance, with just over 12 minutes remaining in the match, Diskerud
kept a short throw-in alive in the box and put his head up to find Donovan at
the far post to poke home the second goal of the match.
With just seconds left to play, Dempsey nearly made it an even worse night
for the visitors but he was unable to convert on a penalty kick that flew to the
right of the goal. But the mission had already been accomplished.
"We're continuing the growth of the game here in the sport, we're improving,
getting better and we've got to make sure we do well in Brazil to keep it
going," Dempsey said.
The U.S. improved to 24-0-2 in home qualifiers since losing to Honduras in
September 2001 at RFK Stadium in Washington, and is now 38-1-7 in qualifiers at
home since losing to Costa Rica in 1985.
The nation has also defeated Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium for the fourth
straight World Cup qualifier after topping its biggest rival by a scoreline of
2-0 in 2001, 2005 and 2009. The Americans increased their undefeated run at the
MLS stadium overall by winning for the seventh time to go along with two
While the U.S. fans, led by the American Outlaws supporting group, left the
party atmosphere at the stadium, El Tri left with their heads down looking for
answers. Tena may find himself out after just one game in charge as the team
would need two wins in two games for any hope of reaching the World Cup on an
“This isn’t the best moment to make decisions,” Tena said when asked if he'd
resign. “I have to analyze a lot of things.”
SoundersFC Majority Owner Joe Roth and Coach Sigi Schmid
It's an MLS regular season game. The winner will get three points, or a tie will mean each team earns a point. In terms of the standings, it's just another game. Right?
With CenturyLink Field already sold out and expecting over 67,000 fans, new Sounders acquisition Clint Dempsey set to make his home debut, and with the Portland Timbers in town contesting the league's fiercest rivalry, Sunday's game will be anything but ordinary.
“You recognize its your rival and it doesn't matter what position you are in the standings,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said after training Friday. “It's always going to be an important game.”
In addition to the aforementioned factors, Sunday's match will take on extra importance because the Timbers, unlike their first two seasons in the league, have the opportunity to both make the playoffs and finish ahead of their fierce rival in the standings.
Portland sits in third place in the Western Conference, in the midst of its most successful season to date. After a
slow start, Seattle is on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, five points back of Portland, but with two games in hand.
“Maybe it takes on a little more significance right now because they feel 'Hey we're on top of them right now, we're ahead of them in the standings and maybe the power has shifted,'” Schmid said. “So it's up to us to come out and
For a team that averages over 40,000 fans and routinely delivers one of the most raucous atmospheres in MLS, Sunday should still be an extraordinary day in the history of the Sounders franchise.
With the biggest crowd to ever see a soccer game in Seattle expected, the Emerald City Supporters, known for their massive tifo displays, are set to unveil the largest CenturyLink Field has ever seen.
“It's something you gotta get excited about,” Schmid said. “It's got to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck and you get there and hopefully the players can take that emotion and don't turn it into overexcitement.”
The fans, and Schmid, will hope to see Clint Dempsey get on the score sheet for the first time with the Sounders in his third game since joining the team from Tottenham.
“It's just a matter of he not putting so much pressure on himself to try and get that first goal or try and get that first assist,” Schmid said. “Just let it come and I think once it comes he'll be settled and I think it will help our team.”
Whether Dempsey gets on the board or not, Sunday is likely to be one of the more memorable regular season games in the league's history, and one which will be remembered for much more than the impact it has on the league standings. By Seth Vertelney | Goal.com
Seattle Sounders FC Ownership Group
Clint Dempsey Neck Tattoo on Seattle Sounders Fan
Passion, dedication, undying support — all words and phrases MLS fans often use to describe supporters of the Seattle Sounders.
Fanatacism, bewilderment, "really, bro?" — all words and phrases that some might use to describe the Sounders fan in the following tweet and photo. We've all heard of "Deuce Face." Welcome "Deuce Neck."
It's the Clint Dempsey version of Mr. Potato Head with his head sitting right on top of his soccer boots. Except, where are the rubber arms, mustache and tongue inserts, and what happens if that guy headbangs too violently at a metal show? Does Deuce's whole face fall off?
It may very well be a sign that we're entering a new phase of MLS fandom: Why go for a simple club crest as a tattoo when you can memorialize your favorite superstar? This will be forever remembered as one of the firsts.
For that guy's sake, let's hope Dempsey retires a Sounder.
Story first published: August 13, 2013
By: Andy Edwards
Clint Dempsey is coming back to MLS Soccer to Join Seattle Sounders
Bringing back the USA's best player, who
started his career with the New England Revolution before joining Fulham, is quite the "get" for MLS. It will be interesting to hear what changed for Dempsey
in the last 12 months to bring him back to the league after seeming so focused on rising to new heights in Europe and if he plans on returning to Europe on
short offseason loans like Landon Donovan has done with Everton in years past before needing to take an extended break from the game.
When the U.S. played Panama in Seattle in June, Dempsey was very impressed with the huge crowds and passion for the game in the city.
From News Tribune
: "I’m good friends with [Seattle striker] Eddie Johnson and he always tells me
about what it’s like playing here in front of these fans. It’s an atmosphere
that’s comparable to playing in Europe. It’s crazy to see because when I first
started out in MLS, things weren’t like that, so it’s great to see that the game
is building. People have so much passion for the game. I almost felt like I was
in another country the other day when the Seattle Sounders game was on. I was
walking to eat dinner, and just as I was walking past the bar, the TV was on and
everybody was watching soccer. For me that was awesome." So how good is Mr. Clint Dempsey? Well he is considered the best US player.
Dempsey has the ability to dribble with the ball, albeit in a rough, somewhat
out of control manner. He can score from distance. He positions himself so he
can poke it in from a couple of yards. He can play on the wing, in central
midfield or as a striker, with or without a partner. There is a strong argument
that he was the best at heading the ball in the Premier League.