USMNT Report: Summer Transfers & Azteca Looming

As a clash with Mexico awaits, the USMNT sees a drop in the rankings and its players find new homes
by Herb Scribner   |   Thursday, July 19, 2012

USMNT Report - coverage of the United States Men's National Team

The United States Men’s National Team is having a busy summer despite not playing a match since June. Squad regulars have transferred, tickets have gone on sale for the next friendly and the team got some disappointing news to kick off July.

The Road to Now: May and June were busy months for the USMNT. Pundits were out there with comments and analysis of what the team was doing. It seemed these analysts showed an extreme focus on the team paralleled only by the spring prior to a World Cup.

The Americans had two results in May with two very different results. The first was a 5-1 slaying of Scotland, which brought lots of hope and enthusiasm to fans across the board. Though Scotland is no longer the European stalwart it used to be, many rejoiced in the USA downing yet another European team following the USMNT’s February win over Italy.

But four days after the Scotland win, the USMNT found itself on the losing side of a 4-1 decision to Brazil. A bright spot in that otherwise dark result was Herculez Gomez finding the back of the net for the Americans off a Fabian Johnson cross.

Following a disappointing and disjointed 0-0 draw with Canada, the USMNT embarked on its quest for the 2014 World Cup Finals with Qualifying games against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala. The Americans earned four points between the two games with a win against Antigua and a draw with Guatemala. They weren’t inspiring results, but were enough to get the boys in the red, white and blue some points.

What’s next: Things are about to pick up for the USMNT.

On August 15th, the Americans will battle their southern rivals, Mexico, in the gigantic fortress that is Estadio Azteca. This CONCACAF Derby will be a friendly in name alone and has the potential to show where the USMNT falls in comparison to other World Cup quality teams. The match and will be broadcasted on ESPN2/ESPN3/Univision.

The USMNT will then get right back to qualifying in September with two matches against Jamaica. The first on September 7th will be away at Independence Park in Kingston. Four days later on September 11th, the USMNT will host the Jamaicans at Columbus Crew Stadium. The latter game will be shown on ESPN2/ESPN3/Univision.

For sale: Tickets for the Jamaica match on September 11th went on sale Tuesday. Prices stretch from $32 (endlines) to $85 (VIP midfield). Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Team news: The USMNT received disappointing news to kick of July as the newest FIFA Rankings showed the USA ranked 36th in the world, this after previously being in the 28th spot.

Transfers: It wouldn’t be transfer season without a boatload of rumors and news. And the USMNT isn’t being left out of the talks.

Clint Dempsey, who has performed excellently at Fulham over the past few seasons, is being linked with a move to Liverpool. He’s also been connected with Arsenal, but the Liverpool rumors have picked up the most steam as of late. Who knows where he’ll go? It’s likely it’ll be somewhere other than Craven Cottage as he was left off a LFC friendly roster and news seemed to leak prematurely from the US.

Michael Bradley officially moved from Chievo to AS Roma earlier this month. Chievo Verona received $4.5 million for the defensive midfielder, and there is also news that they will receive a player back from Roma. Moving to one of the top clubs in Italy’s Serie A, Bradley will now have an opportunity to compete for a Champions League or Europa League spot. In addition, he will have the opportunity to train with Daniele De Rossi one of the better defensive midfielders in the world.

Geoff Cameron has also been in the news recently. Many linked him with a move to Stoke City. According to various reports, Cameron is currently negotiating a contract with the English side. Others are saying the deal is only awaiting the approval of Major League Soccer, who controls all contracts in their league due to its single-entity nature. There is some hearsay that the Houston Dynamo, Cameron’s current team, and Cameron are both ecstatic in helping the move happen, but MLS is trying to convince Cameron to stay in MLS.

How I see it: You’d think that the USMNT would have a quiet few months before the qualifiers pick up. But it’s been quite the contrary so far.

I’d like to start out with the Dempsey transfer rumors. I think he’s due for an upgrade, but I advise him to proceed with caution. Fulham has been a great fit for him, and his skills clearly show he deserves to be on a Champion League squad; but by joining an Arsenal or a Liverpool, it’ll add even more pressure onto the 29-year-old.

It would be cool to see Dempsey on one of these top level clubs. Landon Donovan got to Everton but could have gone farther if he hadn’t chosen the MLS route instead. If Dempsey does move to Liverpool, which seems to be more likely than Arsenal, he’ll be highly regarded by fans across the US. When American fans hear that a Yank is playing for an elite EPL club, some might even decide to follow the Reds as their club – even if Liverpool is not exactly the club it was a few decades ago.

So Dempsey, this will be a good move for you. Just make sure you can handle the pressure that comes along with it.

As for Bradley, it’s another good move. I’ve never been a fan of Bradley, but good for him to get the move to the popular AS Roma. It’s going to improve his game surely and hopefully that’ll translate into his play for the USMNT, which will surely have its fair share of defensive midfielder spots (minimum of 2) for Bradley to fill in.

I’m excited about the game at Azteca too. The Mexican Men’s National Team is hot right now. This group has been developing since the 2010 World Cup, continuing through the 2011 Gold Cup and they seem a team with some destiny in them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Americans lose as Mexico is clearly playing better soccer right now. It’ll be a tough friendly and definitely a true test for the USMNT and Coach Klinsmann.

Keep your eyes on the USMNT as we move closer to August. The Dempsey deal will likely be done soon, as will Cameron’s move.

The team will also reassemble again to face the Mexicans, and then more World Cup Qualifiers after that. Things are about to pick up I promise you that.

Herb SCRIBNER

Nationality:
USA
College:
UMass Amherst
Club Domestic:
RSL
Club Foreign:
FC Barcelona
SN managing editor and award-winning journalist, Herb has always been known as "The Soccer Guy" wherever he goes. He's a leftback in most outdoor and indoor leagues. He also writes for Deseret News National.
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