The US Men's National Team started their three game Send Off Series Tuesday evening in Nashville versus Morocco. Not only was the 1-0 loss not the result the US squad was looking for, but team captain Claudio Reyna limped off the field in the first half with a hamstring injury.
Thankfully, Reyna received good news Wednesday morning when an MRI revealed no muscle damage to the injured right hamstring. Reyna tweaked the hamstring in the 11th minute when he stretched out to get a touch on the ball while being challenged by a Moroccan player. This isn't the first time that Reyna has been hurt in a tune up match prior to a World Cup. Four years ago, Reyna didn't play in the US's opening match versus Portugal due to a thigh injury.
The match was a nightmare not only because of the result, but because of the way the US squad looked for most of the match. The US squad had a hard time maintaining possession for most of the match, produced little offensively, and only had a real good stretch late in the second half. Ironically, it was during this period of time that Morocco was able to score on a quick counterattack after a US free kick.
US defender Steve Cherundolo turned the ball over deep in US territory and second half substitute Mohamed Madihi made no mistake with his final touch as he was alone one v one with US keeper Kasey Keller.
The US's second tune up match will be tomorrow evening in Cleveland versus Venezuela. The match can be seen live at 7pm on ESPN2.
Ronaldo, Zidane, and Davids, Oh My!!!!
Although things could change at any moment, BigAppleSoccer.com have two MLS sources saying that it is a "done deal" that Brazilian superstar forward Ronaldo will sign on with Red Bull NY after the World Cup in Germany.
The Real Madrid striker has grown weary of the fans poking fun at his weight and has said that he is looking to move on. Rumors have Italian clubs A.C. Milan and Inter Milan also in hot pursuit of the former FIFA World Footballer of the Year.
BigAppleSoccer.com also states that Red Bull NY has their sights set on adding Real Madrid and French international midfielder Zinedine Zidane, a close friend of Red Bull NY's Youri Djorkaeff, as well as Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids who has been playing his club soccer with Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.
If only one of these moves were to happen, then this would mark the first step towards trying to remake the club in the image of the immortal New York Cosmos of the NASL. I'll believe it when I see it, but this would be massive if it were to happen.
Speaking of the Cosmos
A documentary about the biggest soccer club in US history is set to hit theatres on July 7th.
If the trailer is any indication, this will be an awesome movie. And I have a feeling that I know one soccer fan who will be camping out for tickets to this premier.
Oakland A's buy option on bringing the MLS back to the Bay Area
Don Garber talked about bringing the Earthquakes back at the press conference to announce that the team was moving to Houston, Texas. Well, the next step in bringing back the Quakes has occurred with Major League Soccer announcing Wednesday that the league has formed a partnership with Lew Wolff and John Fisher, principal owners of the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball, that gives the pair an exclusive three-year window to acquire a new MLS team in the Bay Area, should they be successful in developing a new soccer-specific stadium.
The City of San Jose has been trying to lure the A's out of Oakland for years. And the land that has been earmarked for a baseball stadium in San Jose created major issues for the placement of a possible soccer specific stadium to house the Earthquakes. It will be interesting to see if this development leads to those issues being worked out as you now have one ownership group talking to the city about two stadium projects as opposed to two groups (the A's and former Quakes owners AEG) talking to the city about two competing projects.
Around the USL
- Former Rhino MVP Craig Demmin was on the substitutes bench for the Virginia Beach Mariners on Sunday evening, but he did not play in the match. It will be interesting to see if he gets on the field Saturday against the Rhinos.
- Miami begins a four game road trip tomorrow morning in Toronto. Will Romario blame "visa issues" as the reason that he doesn't play in that match, again on Sunday afternoon versus Montreal, and then next Friday in Vancouver? Or, will Romario make his road debut for Miami FC?
- Week 5 of the USL season saw the Rhinos nab their second USL 1st Division Player of the Week honor. Matthew Delicate was named the USL 1st Division player of the week thanks to two goals in two road wins for the Rhinos. Rookie defender Kenney Bertz and midfielder Greg Howes (game winning goal versus Seattle) were also named to the USL 1st Division team of the week.
- It only took Anthony Maher 26 minutes to earn USL 2nd Division Player of the Week honors. Maher entered as a 54th minute substitute as the Wilmington Hammerheads trailed the Charlotte Eagles 3-1. Maher struck in the 88th and 89th minutes for the Hammerheads, as they were able to steal a point from the defending USL 2nd Division champions.
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.