Life on the bubble

Posted by Jeff Carlisle

Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesWondolowski has scored nine goals for the U.S. since July 2013.

Early on the morning of May 26, 2010, Jonathan Bornstein sat in a hotel room in Hartford, Conn., alongside his roommate, Benny Feilhaber. The tension was almost unbearable.

The U.S. defender had spent the previous four years on the World Cup roster bubble, but the previous evening he had struggled in a 4-2 loss vs. the Czech Republic. Now he was about to find out if he was going to feel the elation of going to South Africa or the crushing disappointment of being left home. Continue Reading...

U.S. Hot List: Mixed bag for key internationals

Posted by Doug McIntyre

Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsClint Dempsey is hitting his stride back at home with Seattle, scoring five goals in his last two games.

It's safe to say that Saturday was full of mixed emotions for Jurgen Klinsmann. The U.S. coach was in attendance for an evening match between the Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps at StubHub Center just outside of Los Angeles, where he watched World Cup roster locks Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez continue to search for their best form despite the home team's 1-0 win.

Klinsmann would have been much happier just two hours earlier when U.S. captain Clint Dempsey put his own slump even further in the rearview mirror with his finest performance -- which included a late game winner for Seattle in a 3-2 win at FC Dallas -- since leaving England's Tottenham Hotspur and returning to MLS last summer. Continue Reading...

Bedoya hopes Ligue 1 boosts World Cup dream

Posted by Alex Labidou

AP Photo/Claude ParisAlejandro Bedoya has impressed in France with FC Nantes. Can he do the same in Brazil this summer?

If Alejandro Bedoya needed a reminder of the jump in leagues that he made when switching from the Swedish top flight to France's Ligue 1 last summer, he got an early dose of reality.

Making his first start last August for newly-promoted FC Nantes, Bedoya came up against a star-studded Paris Saint-Germain side featuring the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edison Cavani and Thiago Silva among others.

The U.S. international's team lost 2-1 and, shortly after the game, Bedoya sought out Ibrahimovic to exchange jerseys. Continue Reading...

Could Michael Bradley thrive in the Premier League?

Posted by Roger Bennett

AP PhotoIs there a better Hollywood doppelganger for Bradley than Jason Statham?

Michael Bradley is the American Jason Statham.

A bald man who kicks ass, and in doing so makes all those around him feel both safe and full of hope. In the past, his physical commitment and mental tenacity have combined to make the midfielder a virtual security blanket simmering away at the heart of the U.S. national team.

Bradley was unshackled in the U.S. team's 2-2 draw with Mexico last Wednesday night, thriving in a more advanced, buccaneering role at the tip of the diamond. Continue Reading...

USMNT Hot List: Dempsey and Bedoya heating up

Posted by Doug McIntyre

Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty ImagesA long shot for the U.S. World Cup, Michael Orozco hasn't been helped by his club or recent injury woes.

When Clint Dempsey left Europe and returned to MLS last August, the initial shock was followed by fears that the U.S. captain’s form would suffer without the daily pressures of trying to keep his place in a Premier League lineup.

Those concerns only grew as Dempsey -- like so many midseason imports before him -- struggled to adapt immediately, to the point that when Michael Bradley followed his international teammate back across the Atlantic early this year, one dominant storyline was how the move might diminish his sharpness ahead of this summer’s World Cup. Continue Reading...

More questions than answers for U.S. at center back

Posted by Jeff Carlisle

Norman Hall/LatinContent/Getty ImagesMatt Besler, pictured, was the stronger of the two center backs. His partner on the backline, Omar Gonzalez, struggled mightily.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Seconds into his postmatch news conference, U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann said of his team’s 2-2 draw with Mexico, “I think we learned a lot from tonight.” Unfortunately, some of the information offered up wasn’t the kind he was looking for.

In particular, the play of the U.S. center backs created almost as many questions as answers. In the first half, all was well. The U.S. midfield was dominating, and the backline looked composed. Both Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez were relatively untroubled, with Besler’s decision making looking especially sharp. Continue Reading...

Strong start but more time needed for Julian Green

Posted by Doug McIntyre

Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesJulian Green showed flashes of his promise against Mexico.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The hype machine was humming in the run-up to Julian Green's U.S. national team debut, but the 18-year-old German-American's first appearance with the Yanks turned out to be rather anticlimactic -- not that that's a bad thing.

Yes, the Bayern Munich prospect made his much-anticipated cameo, coming on in the 59th minute of the Americans' 2-2 draw with Mexico here on Wednesday night. And yes, he showed some flashes of the quality that has landed him on the books of the world's best club team. Continue Reading...

U.S. grades: Yanks cave in after brilliant start vs. Mexico

Posted by Jeff Carlisle

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsMichael Bradley put in a man of the match performance in the U.S.'s 2-2 draw vs. Mexico.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the World Cup training camp just six weeks away, the U.S. men’s national team delivered a mixed performance in tying rivals Mexico 2-2.

The match, before 59,066 fans at the University of Phoenix Stadium, was a classic tale of two halves. First half goals from Michael Bradley and Chris Wondolowski gave the U.S. a deserved lead, but a flurry of halftime substitutions allowed El Tri to get back into the match with Rafa Marquez scoring on a header, and Alan Pulido scoring off a rebound in the 68th minute. Continue Reading...

Competition for forward places heats up

Posted by Doug McIntyre

Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty ImagesWondolowski has scored eight goals in 18 Games for the U.S.

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- There are at least two Americans who could be forgiven for not being thrilled about 18-year-old Julian Green’s swift arrival onto the U.S. national team scene.

For current Yanks forwards Eddie Johnson and Chris Wondolowski -- two players who may have been competing for the final forward spot at June’s World Cup even before the German-American Green committed to the U.S. program two weeks ago -- the addition of another attacking player just two months before Brazil 2014 clearly impacts their odds of making the cut. Continue Reading...

50-50 Challenge: U.S. vs. Mexico

Posted by Jason Davis and Andrea Canales

Getty ImagesVeterans Dempsey and Marquez will renew acquaintances on Wednesday.

The latest in our 50-50 Challenge series looks ahead to the United States' friendly vs. Mexico (Wednesday, 11:15 ET - ESPN and WatchESPN). Jason Davis and Andrea Canales face off ahead of the clash in Glendale, Ariz.

Jason is a writer and broadcaster who covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC while Andrea has watched games in Azteca, interviewed nine different El Tri coaches and covered three World Cups.

Match memories

Jason Davis: The U.S.-Mexico rivalry is a rich one with big games filled with memorable moments. Continue Reading...

Green Behind The Ears

Posted by Doug McIntyre

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsGreen was born in Florida but moved to Germany at a young age.

German-American Julian Green is in line to be the Yanks' youngest World Cup player in 80 years.

Ask Julian Green why he filed a change of association with FIFA to play for the U.S. instead of Germany and you'll get lots of answers: the locker room atmosphere, trust in coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a chance to play for the country of his father. Oh, and one last thing: "It is a wonderful opportunity for an 18-year-old player like me to get the chance to play in a World Cup."

Yep, Klinsmann dangled the World Cup carrot in front of a player who would've had to wait until at least 2018 for the Germans. Continue Reading...

Opportunity knocks as the World Cup draws near

Posted by Jeff Carlisle

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsJurgen Klinsmann has never lost against Mexico as U.S. coach.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In the past, games against Mexico have typically brought out a singular focus from the U.S. men’s national team. It didn’t matter which players were available, or how little style the U.S. side displayed, it was all about winning, and tacking on another humiliation to El Tri.

Emerging triumphant will no doubt be high on the list of the U.S. team’s priorities when the two sides square off at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Wednesday (11:15 ET, ESPN and WatchESPN) but, with its World Cup training camp a little more than six weeks away, there are some undercurrents rippling through the U. Continue Reading...