It's been a few weeks since we've updated you guys on the happenings of the United States men's national team and, in that time, quite a bit has happened! So with that we'll just jump right into the biggest news:
The Hex Unveiled
CONCACAF has unveiled the schedule for the hexagonal World Cup qualifying round for 2013. All in all, there's nothing out of the ordinary here or really unexpected, but it's nice to finally have some dates locked down:
- February 6 at Honduras
- March 22 vs. Costa Rica
- March 26 at Mexico
- June 7 at Jamaica
- June 11 vs. Panama
- June 18 vs. Honduras
- September 6 at Costa Rica
- September 10 vs. Mexico
- October 11 vs. Jamaica
- October 15 at Panama
Nothing too harrowing for the USMNT. Obviously the games in Mexico and central America will be tough, as they always are, but hopefully team USA will be able to pull off confident wins at home and in Jamaica where they have been strong in the past.
Interestingly enough, it's been rumored that the home game against Mexico will NOT be played in Columbus where it has historically been held. No word yet on where the new location will be, but maybe Portland or Seattle could be a destination? We'll see...
Russian Friendly Roster Unveiled
The USMNT will take on Russia this Wednesday for a friendly in Krasnodar, Russia. Should be a fun game all in all, especially considering that Russia is ranked fairly high right now at #9. Here are the players that will tag along for the ride:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna)
I personally hope to see Jozy Altidore make his return to the USMNT. He's currently on fire for the Eredivisie side scoring 8 goals in just 9 appearances.
One name that should stand out, however, is Timmy Chandler. Which leads me to the final update:
The Chandler Saga Continues
Anybody who has been following the USMNT in 2012 is well aware of the Timmy Chandler issues that have cropped up. The young right back has been called up for the USMNT multiple times to assist in WCQ games, but each time he turned the offer down citing reasons that relate to his club loyalty over national loyalty. That's perfectly fine, but it's certainly made him a begrudging character in certain USA fans' eyes.
The good news is that Chandler has seemingly seen the light and is now saying he's 100% committed to the USMNT going forward after he's been able to get settled with his club.
According to an interview with ussoccer.com:
"I was a young player trying to get settled into my club team and wasn’t sure about the long travel and everything that goes into being a part of this National Team. My coaches didn’t like the idea, so I think even I felt some pressure. I’ve had a chance to get settled in with the club and also have grown up a lot. I know what I want to do."
Good on him, I say! I was never angry with him for turning down the USMNT. After all, a player needs to want to be a part of a national team to really make an impact. So it was probably best he stayed away when he did. Now that he's had a change of heart, however, I'm hopeful he'll contribute in a major way to the backline.
What do you think of the recent USMNT developments?