Quite a lot going down in soccer today. Let's get caught up with the news, Chivas USA-related and otherwise:
The big story today is that Bob Bradley has been fired as coach of the United States National Team. The move comes as something of a surprise, considering Bradley was given a new contract following the 2010 World Cup. It is unusual for national team coaches to stay for two full World Cup cycles in this day and age, but after leaving Bradley to twist in the wind for several months in 2010, United States Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati brought Bradley back, presumably because other potential coaches were unavailable or uninterested. If you are on twitter, you probably have noticed the four stages of happiness at the news, but Bradley leaves with a mixed legacy that will become more clear once time has passed on his era. Among the highlights: the 2007 Gold Cup Title, the final of the 2009 Confederations Cup (the first time the United States has ever been in a FIFA-level final for any tournament), a first-place group finish in the 2010 World Cup. The lowlights, however, gave fans a lot of fuel for the "Fire Bob Bradley" fire: Blowout losses in the 2009 and 2011 Gold Cup to Mexico, a first-ever group stage loss in the 2011 Gold Cup, a quick exit from the Round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup, a general inability to avoid conceding goals early and often in all games, and a stunning collapse in the final of the 2009 Confederations Cup after leading 2-0 over Brazil.Reportedly, Bradley's successor is expected to be named tomorrow, which makes a certain amount of sense considering the timing. At the top of the rumored list is former German international player and coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who is currently working as an advisor to the front office of Toronto FC and has been linked to the job for more than five years. If Klinsmann is indeed the coach, his anti-college position for developing players may mean prospective national team players should be advised to "Stay out of school, kids!" For a skeptical take on how Klinsmann could (not) transform the USMNT's fortunes, take a look at this article on SB Nation Soccer from Ryan Rosenblatt. Of course, it may not be Klinsmann and maybe we will have one of many decent but not great MLS coaches to take over the reins. Stay tuned on that...
In other news, the MLS All-Star Game took place yesterday. A good game if you are a Manchester United fan, not so much if you were pulling for MLS or a competitive game. While the all-stars were in it for most of the first half, Manchester United pulled away in the second half to finish on a 4-0 scoreline (goals from Anderson, Park Ji-Sung, Dimitar Berbatov and Danny Welbeck). It was not one of the scores I predicted yesterday, but I did get my half-hearted prediction right that United would win. The best players for the all-stars were probably (gulp) David Beckham, who of course took this exhibition game very, very seriously, and Jamison Olave, who covered Wayne Rooney well until he picked up a knee injury and had to come out at about the half hour mark.
On the Chivas USA front, both Nick LaBrocca and Heath Pearce played for the full second half. Neither made much of a direct impact on the game, besides Pearce half-heartedly defending in the box just before Welbeck's goal, and LaBrocca making a nifty run through Manchester United's half only to find no MLSers to pass the ball to. But at least he can put that on his resume video should he ever need one. Glad to see our Goats getting some action, and I think both emerged unscathed from the action, so on to the competitive games for Chivas!
Also need to make a quick mention of a "new" transfer rumor relating to Chivas USA. Mexican midfielder and left back Ramon Morales has been linked to the club again, according to an article on mediotiempo.com (in Spanish). Morales is currently with Estudiantes Tecos in the FMF, but he spent more than a decade with Chivas de Guadalajara. He is also 35. According to Chivas USA beat writer Adam Serrano (on twitter), when Robin Fraser was asked about Morales, he claimed he didn't know who he was. While Fraser has said that about every transfer target he's been questioned on so far, don't expect Morales in Carson. He is widely regarded as well past his best, and the rumor sounds an awful lot like a player or his agent trying to drum up interest in the press. My expectation is that this link will die out pretty quickly.
UPDATE: An article has just been posted to the league's website from Serrano that elaborates on the transfer rumors of Morales and Honduran Mario Martinez and Fraser's public comments on the rumors. Morales is not ruled out, but it looks like a polite 'no' from Fraser, while the coach may have tipped his hand a bit in noting that the team was keeping tabs on Martinez, so that rumor may have some weight to it. We'll keep you posted...
Finally, an article on the team's official site from Gabe Dahl about Alejandro Moreno's return to Chivas and his comments on Venezuela's historic Copa America run.
What do you think about these stories? Happy to see Bradley go? Upset over All-Star game? Eager to see Chivas get a new player? Leave a comment below!