WASHINGTON – He stands only 5-foot-7 and weighs 150 lbs. – and those official numbers might even be a tad bit generous – but the suspended Andy Najar leaves massive shoes to fill along D.C. United’s right flank this weekend.
The Honduran-born rookie has gone from unheralded academy signing to primary creative weapon in the space of six months, to the extent that his absence through yellow-card accumulation represents a major challenge for United’s attack against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.
AMSTERDAM — Being the boss comes with responsibilities, as U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley can confirm.
So while he is in Chicago preparing for friendlies with Poland and Colombia, I am here to make several unsolicited and faux-modest selection requests.
Let's walk through my polite demands, player by player:
CHICAGO – Chicago's Soldier Field has been good to U.S. national team forward Clint Dempsey over the years.
There’s the goal against England on May 28, 2005, and another against Brazil on Sept. 9, 2007. He also started the triumphant CONCACAF Gold Cup final in 2007 against Mexico.
His success there is not only limited to international duty. Dempsey scored in the venue as a member of the New England Revolution back on April 27, 2005, in a 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire. It’s been over five years, but he still remembers the celebration.
United States national team captain Carlos Bocanegra said on Wednesday that he'd like to finish his professional playing career where it began—with the Chicago Fire, which also happens where former American star Brian McBride has been playing out his days.
Tim Howard has also gone on record expressing his desire to return to a New York-area team at some point in the future. Jay DeMerit could be headed to the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps after failing to land a squad in Europe.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — When he was a teenager plying his trade for D.C. United, Bobby Convey said he used to hang out at the home of then-teammate Ben Olsen “three or four times a week.”
So when it came time for United to make a midseason coaching change after Curt Onalfo suffered a dreadful 3-12-3 start to the season, Convey wasn’t surprised that his ex-team called upon Olsen, even if the former midfielder had only retired as a player nine months earlier.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – To put it mildly, Roger Espinoza has had a whirlwind 2010.
Over the past 10 months, the 23-year-old left back has played his way into the Honduran national team, solidified a starting spot at left back with the Wizards and started for his country at this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.
MLSsoccer.com sat down with Espinoza after practice this week to discuss his breakout season, plans for the future and even the fate of 17-year-old Honduran sensation Andy Najar.
WASHINGTON — Three weeks ago they dealt a hammer blow to Toronto’s playoff prospects by winning 1-0 at BMO Field. Last weekend, they stunned the red-hot Rapids with a surprising victory in Colorado.
Interim coach Ben Olsen claims the spoiler’s role has little value for his D.C. United squad – “I’m certainly not preaching that,” he said on Tuesday – but the Black-and-Red nonetheless seem to enjoy making life difficult for postseason-chasing opposition.
SEATTLE – On a Tuesday night in Seattle, the identity crisis and inferiority complex that has plagued the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in recent years was nowhere to be found.
Some in MLS circles have called the tournament a waste of time and a second-rate competition. But those phrases were likely never uttered by the 31,311 fans at Qwest Field who did not budge from their seats for the Open Cup trophy presentation.
Still feeling that World Cup hangover? Never fear, because starting Friday is a week of FIFA action to sate your thirst for international fixtures.
And though the race to the MLS playoffs surges on, several league players have answered their country’s call.
The New York Red Bulls have had four of their players called up, including Mexico captain Rafa Márquez, who just last week penned a letter to the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación stating that he did not want to be called up until there was “a change in attitude” at Federation.