The U. S. men’s national registered its third straight win under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann when it defeated hosts Panama, 1-0, last Wednesday night in an international friendly.
Graham Zusi, a midfielder with Kansas City of MLS, scored in the eighth minute of play for the only goal of the game and the player’s first international tally in only his second international match
“We wanted to introduce the players to those difficult games in different environments, especially away from home outside of their comfort zone,’’ U.S. coach Klinsmann said. “We wanted them to come here and experience this atmosphere and a different way of doing things. I think they did very well with all that.’’
Ream Moves To Bolton
New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream was sold to Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League earlier this week. The 24-year-old Ream signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the English club when Gary Cahill moved from Bolton to Chelsea. Wanderers coach Owen Coyle referred to Ream as “…young, has a tremendous attitude and a winning mentality.”
Continued Coyle, “First and foremost we are absolutely delighted to secure Tim’s services. He is a U.S. international, a player that year on year has progressed and got better, and he will continue to do that…” Ream played two seasons for the Red Bulls and was part of the U.S. national team pool.
Meanwhile, the Red Bulls got some reinforcements through the MLS Supplemental Draft by coming away with three young players. Defender Mike Volk from the University of Virginia, and midfielders Christian Barreiro of the University of Pennsylvania and Nate Polak from Hastings College.
Volk, sophomore transfer from Rutgers University, played in 64 games in three years at Virginia and was named captain in his junior and senior years. Barreiro, a two-time All-Ivy selection, played in 71 total games, starting 69, and scored 20 goals and 18 assists; as a senior in 2011, he had a team-high seven goals and seven assists.
Polak, one of the top junior college players in the nation last year, with the 69th overall selection. Polak led Hastings to win the 2010 NAIA national championship and is third on Hastings’ all-time goals and assists lists with 43 and 30, respectively. The midfielder was named an NAIA first-team All-American when he led Hastings to an undefeated season in the Great Plains Athletic Conference in 2011 with 18 goals and 17 assists.
USA Beats Canada
The U.S. defeated Canada, 4-0, Sunday night at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia to win the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Both national teams were semifinal winners on Friday and qualified for the London Olympics this summer. The finalists battled on Sunday for CONCACAF supremacy and the U.S. got two goals each from Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan to reign supreme in CONCACAF women’s soccer. Wambach (131) is now second on the women’s all-time scoring list.
In the semifinals, the U.S. beat Costa Rica, 3-0, and Canada topped Mexico 3-1. The U.S. – defending gold medalist – kept its qualification streak alive as it now qualified for all five women’s Olympic tournaments and now looks to improve on its previous three gold medals and a silver. Tobin Heath (16th), New Jersey’s Carly Lloyd (72nd) and forward Alex Morgan (89th) scored for the U.S., which has outscored their opponents, 38-0.
In Canada’s win against Mexico, all-time leading scorer Christine Sinclair (15th and 77th) and Melissa Tancredi (23rd) scored, while Veronica Perez (67th) tallied for Mexico. Playing in front of a home crowd of 22,954, Sinclair scored her 129th international goal and is fourth in women scoring in the international game behind Americans Christine Lilly (130), Wambach (131) and leader Mia Hamm (158).
African Nations Cup
The African Nations Cup, supremacy for African soccer, is in full swing in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. After a week’s play, all 16 teams have played two group games. The top two teams from each of the four groups will advance to the quarterfinals.
Group A is the only group to complete preliminary play at this writing and Zambia (2-0-1), with two wins and a draw, won the group. Zambia on Sunday defeated hosts Equatorial Guinea (2-1), 1-0, to move to the quarterfinals. Equatorial Guinea also moved on the quarterfinals, while Libya (1-1-1), a topped winless Senegal (0-3) as both exit the competition. In Group B, Ivory Coast (2-0) is undefeated and will move to the next round with one more preliminary game to play; Angola (1-0-1) and Sudan (0-1-1) will battle for the right to move on as Burkina Faso (0-2) is pretty much out. Group C has Tunisia (2-0) and Gabon (2-0) moving on while Morocco (0-2) and Niger (0-2) will be heading home early. Group D has undefeated Ghana (2-0) ready to move on and Mali (1-1) and Guinea (1-1) will fight it out for the second spot; Botswana (0-2) is out of it.
American Landon Donovan helped hosts Everton rally from a 1-0 deficit to beat Fulham, 2-1, in a Fourth Round English FA Cup tie last Friday. Donovan created crosses to assist on goals by Argentine forward Denis Stracqualursi and midfielder Marouane Fellaini; U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard was in goal for Everton and American striker Clint Dempsey was on the losing end with Fulham.
In other fourth round FA Cup games last weekend, Arsenal, led by Robin van Persie’s two penalties and a tally from Theo Walcott, Arsenal rallied from a 2-0 half time deficit to win 3-2; Liverpool upset Manchester United, 2-1; Chelsea got by Queens Park Rangers, 1-0, and Totenham squeeze past Watford, 1-0.