February 15, 2007
The US has been drawn into a group that includes the runner up in 2004 and a country that was fourth in 2004 and won the tournament as hosts in 2001.
World powerhouse Argentina fell to Brazil on penalty kicks in the 2004 Copa America final. Colombia defeated Mexico 1-0 on home soil to take the title in 2001 and followed that up with a fourth place performance in Peru in the 2004 edition of the Copa America tournament.
The US will have it's work cut out for it as Bob Bradley has already talked about how the focus for the US first and foremost this summer will be the CONCACAF Gold Cup which the US is hosting and will qualify the winner to play some meaningful games in South Africa ahead of the 2010 World Cup being held there.
Dynamo sign Brian Ching to a one year extension with two years at the club's option
The 2006 MLS Cup champs have locked up the 2006 MLS Cup MVP. The Houston Dynamo have given USMNT forward Brian Ching a one year deal with two additional years at the club's option with about a 25% raise.
Houston is also working to extend the contract of Canadian international midfielder Dwayne De Rosario.
Given how well things went in the club's first year in Houston, did they really have any other options?
Palguta is on the bubble with Real Salt Lake
It could be as simple as two defenders fighting for one roster spot. It looks as if Rhinos defender Scott Palguta is in a head to head battle with Chris Lancos for one of two spots that are up for grabs on the 18 man senior roster of Real Salt Lake.
Lancos was a college teammate of Rhinos defender Kenney Bertz at the University of Maryland at College Park. Lancos played both right back and center back for the Terps.
It will be interesting to see if the fact that Palguta is a left sided player and Lancos is a right sided player is the major deciding factor in who makes the squad.
The downside for Palguta's chances is the fact that Lancos played for Real Salt Lake head coach John Ellinger with the US U-17s. It could be hard to overcome the previous history between Lancos and Ellinger.
Slow news month around the USL
While it's concerning to me that the Rhinos have yet to make any noteworthy additions so far this offseason. At least I'm comforted by the fact that few USL 1st Division teams have been all that active up to this point.
Hopefully things will heat up once MLS teams start cutting players loose.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.