Mexico's Roster for March World Cup Qualifying

GK: Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)DEF: Severo Meza (Monterrey), Jonny Magallón (Leon), Francisco Javier “Maza” Rodríguez (Club America), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Diego Reyes (Club America), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres), Carlos Salcido (Tigres)MID: Jesus Zavala (Monterrey), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Jesús Molina (Club America), Héctor Herrera (Pachuca), Javier Aquino (Villarreal), Andres Guardado (Valencia), Angel Reyna (Pachuca)FOR: Giovani dos Santos (Mallorca), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Omar Bravo (Atlas), Raul Jimenez (Club America)

USA – Belgium Set for May 29th

The United States Soccer Federation officially announced a friendly against Belgium on May 29th in Cleveland.  Belgium are 19th in the latest FIFA World Ranking released earlier today. 

“Belgium is definitely a team on the rise,” USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “If you look at their roster, they have quality players from top to bottom who are on some of the biggest clubs in Europe. It’s a big opportunity for us and a great way to start the summer as we prepare for the World Cup qualifiers.”

The game is scheduled for 8pm ET at FirstEnergy Stadium  and will be shown on ESPN2.

Upside: At the top level | US Soccer Players

Their Words

“It’s a weird feeling at the moment. It’s just so disappointing from the first leg, where a lot mistakes were made and cost us. You can’t do that at the top level.” Arsenal’s Theo Walcott.

The Radar

    National Teamers in the Europa League. National Teamer club still alive in UEFA Champions League. MLS on both sides of the bracket in CCL semis. Arsenal’s almost comeback. AEG no longer for sale.

Ten Stories

Jurgen Klinsmann: USMNT moves on with goalkeepers Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando – from MLSsoccer.com’s Anthony Zilis: Klinsmann is confident in Guzan.

Sounders still reveling in historic win – from The Seattle Times’ Joshua Mayers: The story can still get better.

Revolution Put Analytics to Good Use, Hope to Gain Competitive Advantage Through Data Analysis – from NESN’s Marcus Kwesi O’Mard: “I’m quite certain we’re among the leaders in MLS right now in terms of analytics,” Bilello said.

Arsenal’s loss the latest setback in EPL’s steady decline – from SI.com’s Jonathan Wilson: Chelsea’s success in the Champions League last season, of course, was not a direct validation of the Premier League.

Euro crisis: Sorry Arsene, English football isn’t in decline but Arsenal are – from The Mirror’s John Cross: And we can’t be that bad.

Instability and Mediocrity at Arsenal – from The NY Times’ Sam Borden: This season for Arsenal — to put it kindly — has been a mess.

Manchester United’s Yank-Hating Fans – from Bloomberg’s Jonathan Mahler: What sort of thanks did the Glazers get for keeping Ferguson, not to mention loading the club with high-priced talent from around the world?

Tackles, or the lack of… – from Backpage Football’s Pavan Mano: the 80s and early 90s were characterized by sheer violence in the name of football.

CBF decision to revoke Corinthians’ punishment is classless and wrong – from Goal.com’s Eric Gomez: If anything, Corinthians’ punishment wasn’t severe enough.

Match-fixing to ensure a player is sold? It happens – from The Guardian’s Tor-Kristian Karlsen: probably just as well considering what happened next.

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at editor@usnstpa.com

Friday's Soccer TV: France, Scotland, and Spain

Ligue 1 on beIN Sport and Univision Deportes: Marseille – Ajaccio at 3:30pm in a 3rd vs 13th matchup. Scottish Premier League on Fox Soccer Plus: Motherwell – Hibs at 3:45pm.  Motherwell are 2nd in the SPL in the non-Rangers era with Hibernian in 6th.  La Liga on beIN Sport en Espanol: Deportivo – Celta Vigo at 4:30pm, a relegation battle between the 20th and 19th-place clubs.  All Times Eastern

Europa League: Inter Milan 4 – Spurs 1, 4-4 agg

Brad Friedel was in goal for Tottenham in the second-leg of their Europa League Round of 16 series with Inter Milan.  With Spurs leading 3-0 from the opening leg, Inter staged a comeback at the San Siro forcing extra time after drawing level with Tottenham in regulation.  Emmanuel Adebayor scored for Spurs in the 96th minute, giving them an away goal advantage.  Though Inter drew level on the score sheet at 4-4 in the 110th, they couldn’t come up with a fifth goal to overcome Tottenham’s tiebreaker.   Spurs advance to the Europa League quarterfinals where they face Basel.  The opening leg is scheduled for April 4th at White Hart Lane.  Clint Dempsey wasn’t in the squad.

“The fans were there for us when it was not looking good and the players were there to reach this wonderful objective that we continue to pursue,” Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas said. “These are the positives of a night that didn’t go our way. I don’t think Inter are as bad as they showed at White Hart Lane and were not as bad as we showed tonight.”

Four to Watch for the USA in MLS this Weekend | US Soccer Players

By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 15, 2012) US Soccer Players – Major League Soccer tends to be a slow-starting competition. In the early going, teams are still working out their plans and correcting problems. It’s a long season in this league, and teams know to pace themselves. That is unless you’re a player looking to impress a national team coach. With CONCACAF’s Hexagonal round of World Cup Qualifying on the schedule later this month, several veteran stars across the league have good reason to reach their top gear at this early stage. MLS players around the outer perimeter of Jurgen Klinsmann’s US National Team squad look to make an impression ahead of the pivotal World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico on March 22nd and March 26th.

Last month’s setback in Honduras is unlikely to spur the forward-looking Klinsmann to make sweeping changes to his roster. It’s that list of injuries to regulars in the squad that may open up spots. For a handful of players who’ve dwelled on the proverbial bubble of late, every minute of play counts in terms of proving their worth to him. It all serves to raise the stakes for many of the Yanks taking the field in this weekend’s round of MLS action, the final opportunity to show Klinsmann they deserve one of the precious tickets to Denver and Mexico City.

Chris Wondolowski

“Wondo” has played like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders this spring. The reigning MLS MVP and goal king has shown enough sustained striking excellence – for three seasons running, in fact -  to earn a lucrative Designated Player contract from the San Jose Earthquakes, an invite to Klinsmann’s January camp, and a starting role in that month’s friendly against Canada. Yet he lasted just 45 minutes in that game before being substituted, did not make the final roster for the Honduras trip, and has not been his usual razor-sharp self in front of goal during the Quakes’ first two games of 2013.

In fact, the 30-year-old looked downright snake bit in San Jose’s opening weekend loss to Real Salt Lake, taking eight shots without reward. He saw his game-deciding penalty kick saved against New York on Sunday only to have Red Bull Roy Miller’s ludicrous encroachment violation bail him out and give him another – successful – shot for a 2-1 win. The Quakes visit Columbus this Saturday in the only MLS game with nary a trace of the “Rivalry Week” theme, but Wondo will want his own performance to carry an extra edge as he looks to snare another chance with the Yanks.

Jeff Parke

This winter the Philadelphia Union center back had to juggle his January call-up with a cross-country move back to his hometown and the birth of his first child. His work in Southern California nonetheless earned praise from Klinsmann, though he did not make the game day roster for the Canada match, leaving the full extent of the US coaching staff’s evaluation in doubt.

That said, he’s a steady, experienced performer in a position under some degree of flux at the moment. Omar Gonzalez endured a baptism by fire as a starter in Honduras, his first career qualifier, showing the nerves one would expect given the circumstances. The varying form and fitness levels of Klinsmann’s European-based center backs may represent an opening for Parke, whose Union host New England at PPL Park on Saturday afternoon. The Revolution’s skilled midfield might even present him with something of a domestic preview of the movement and dynamism on offer from Mexico and Costa Rica.

Kyle Beckerman

Given Klinsmann’s fondness for holding midfielders and his well-established trust in Beckerman, it was something of a surprise to see the RSL metronome left at home last month. He may have lost out due to match-up concerns with Honduras, or simply lacked the in-season match fitness that his overseas-based midfield competitors had simply by virtue of the calendar.

Either way, Beckerman appears to be just the type of option Klinsmann would enjoy having against ball-hogging opponents, with an ability to string together possession as well as destroy the enemy’s attempts to do the same in the USA’s defensive third. The dreadlocked Marylander will surely be amped up for Real’s rivalry game against the Colorado Rapids, his former team. An influential, disciplined display at Rio Tinto Stadium could well be the cue for the US staff to move him up their list, perhaps even onto the game day 18 for next Friday’s tussle with Costa Rica in Colorado.

Brad Davis

The Houston Dynamo hero is one of the MLS-based vets who did make it onto the short list for the first Hexagonal qualifier. Though he did not take the field in San Pedro Sula, his skills set – left-footed, extremely accurate passer, set-piece specialist – remains attractive. His club team’s blue-collar style will have prepared him well for situations like the one that awaits the Yanks at Estadio Azteca. In fact, Houston just endured a similar scenario in their CONCACAF Champions League swan song against Santos Laguna on Wednesday. Plenty of defensive work and free kick opportunism are probably required if a positive result is to be snatched.

Davis remains one of the few lefties in the US player pool. If width in the attack proves as crucial for the team this month as most observers believe it to be, his selection makes a lot of sense. The Dynamo’s CCL run, combined with the fitness base built by his time in the US camp, should make him one of the sharpest MLSers under Klinsmann’s consideration.


Charles Boehm is a Washington, DC-based writer and the editor of The Soccer Wire. Contact him at:cboehm@thesoccerwire.com. Follow him on Twitter at:http://twitter.com/cboehm.

More from Charles Boehm:

A Work in Progress: Better Late than Never for Brad Davis The Future We’ve Been Waiting to See Pressure in Puebla US National Team player Brad Evans: “It’s going to be a battle”

Weekend TV: MLS Promotes Rivalry Week | US Soccer Players

Your guess is as good as ours as to why Week 3 means ‘Rivalry Week’ in Major League Soccer, but we’ll let the league have their fun.  New York – DC gets national television Saturday on NBC at 12:30pm ET in a game that could be a great commercial for MLS in front of a big audience or another reminder for why these games don’t need to be on network TV.  On Sunday, ESPN2 has Dallas – Houston at 1pm ET where we can see if winning the Texas derby is enough to push Dallas towards creativity. 

In the Premier League, any variation of the London derby is probably worth your time.  That’s Chelsea – West Ham on Sunday at 11:30am ET on Fox Soccer and Spurs – Fulham on Fox Soccer Plus at 11am.  For those of you needing another example of Premier League  geography, the longest distance between two Premier League teams is the six hour drive between Newcastle and Swansea.  It takes around three and a half hours to get from Houston to Dallas, five and a half between Toronto and Montreal, and seven and a half to get from Chicago to Kansas City.  It’s almost reasonable until you consider it’s 3000 miles from Seattle to Foxborough, Mass. 

Saturday

Premier League on ESPN2: Everton – Manchester City at 8:30am. Fox Soccer has Swansea – Arsenal at 10:30am, Manchester United – Reading at 1pm, Aston Villa – Queens Park Rangers at 3:30pm, and Stoke City – West Bromwich Albion at 5:30pm. On Fox Soccer Plus: Southampton – Liverpool at 11am. 

Bundesliga on GolTV: Borussia Dortmund – SC Freiburg at 10:30am and Bayer Leverkusen – Bayern Munich at 1:30pm. La Liga on beIN Sport: Real Sociedad – Valladolid at 11am, Real Madrid – Mallorca at 3pm, and Valencia – Real Betis at 5pm. beIN en Espanol has Getafe – Bilbao at 1pm. Serie A on beIN: Catania – Udinese at 1pm and Bologna – Juventus at 9pm (3:40pm on beIN en Espanol).  Ligue 1 on Univision Deportes: Bastia – Lyon at 12pm and Lille – Evian at 3pm.

MLS on NBC: NY – DC at 12:30pm. NBC Sports Network has Kansas City – Chicago at 3pm and Seattle – Portland at 8pm. Univision Deportes has Philadelphia – New England at 5pm.

Liga MX on Univision: Club America – San Luis.  Univision Deportes has Tigres – Chivas at 9pm and Tijuana – Monterrey at midnight. Univision Deportes Dos has Pachuca – Puebla at 9pm. Galavision for Atlas – Santos Laguna at 11pm.  All Times Eastern

Sunday

Premier League on Fox Soccer: Sunderland – Norwich City at 9:30am and Chelsea – West Ham United at 11:30am. On Fox Soccer Plus: Spurs – Fulham at 11am and Wigan – Newcastle at 1pm. Scottish Premier League on Fox Soccer Plus: Dundee – Dundee United at 11am.

Bundesliga on GolTV: Eintracht Frankfurt – Stuttgart at 10:30am and ‘Gladbach – Hannover 96 at 12:30pm. Serie A on beIN Sport: Milan – Palermo at 10am. beIN en Espanol has Napoli – Atalanta at 10am. La Liga on beIN Sport: Osasuna – Atletico Madrid at 2pm and Barcelona – Rayo Vallecano at 4pm. beIN en Espanol has Sevilla – Zaragoza at 12pm. Ligue 1 on beIN: Toulouse – Bordeaux at 12pm and St Etienne – PSG at 6pm. MLS on ESPN2: Dallas – Houston at 1pm. Univision Deportes and UniMas have LA – Chivas USA at 5pm.

Liga MX on Univision: UNAM Pumas – Leon at 2pm. Univision Deportes has Atlante – Cruz Azul at 8pm.  All Times Eastern

Monday

No games today.

National Teamers Abroad: Dempsey Back for Spurs, Goal for Altidore | US Soccer Players

Clint Dempsey returned to action over the weekend, playing the second-half in Tottenham’s 1-0 loss to Fulham.  Dempsey hasn’t played in several weeks after straining his calf.  Fulham scored in the 52nd minute to beat Spurs at White Hart Lane in a London derby.  Spurs are 4th in the Premier League. 

“It’s one of those defeats you have to reflect on, the desire was there, the effort was there but things didn’t go our way,” Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas said.  “Everybody is disappointed with the result. We will regroup after the international break and look to bounce back against Swansea.”

Also in the Premier League, Geoff Cameron’s Stoke finished 0-0 against West Brom.  Brad Guzan was in goal for Aston Villa’s 3-2 win against QPR.  Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor equalized in first-half stoppage time with Andreas Weimann putting Villa up a goal in the 59th minute.  QPR equalized in the 73rd, with Christian Benteke scoring Villa’s winner in the 81st minute.  In the Championship, Jonathan Spector injured his ankle in the opening minute of Birmingham City’s 1-0 shutout of Middlesbrough and had to be substituted.  Nikola Zigic scored the game’s only goal in the 81st minute.  In League One, Frank Simek’s Carlisle United lost to Leyton Orient 4-1. 

Jozy Altidore scored in AZ’s 3-2 loss to 1st-place Ajax at AFAS Stadion.  Ajax were up two goals when Markus Henriksen scored for AZ in the 47th minute.  Ajax made it 3-1 in the 59th, with Altidore scoring in the 74th minute.  AZ are 14th in the Eredivisie table. 

In Serie A, Michael Bradley subbed on in the 68th minute for Roma in a 2-0 shutout of Parma.  Francesco Totti scored Roma’s second goal two minutes after Bradley subbed in.  Sacha Kljestan’s Anderlecht drew 1-1 with Gent in Belgium.  Anderlecht led from a 40th minute Milan Jovanovic goal with Gent equalizing in the 83rd.  The referee booked Kljestan in the 9th minute.  This was the final game of the regular season, with Anderlecht finishing first as the Pro League moves to the playoffs.  In Austria, Terrence Boyd’s Rapid Vienna drew 1-1 with Admira.  Rapid’s Arald Pichler opened the scoring in the 53rd minute with Admira equalizing four minutes later.  The referee booked Boyd in the 23rd minute.

Jermaine Jones and Schalke were shutout 3-0 by Timmy Chandler’s Nurnberg in the Bundesliga.  Markus Feulner opened the scoring in the 31st minute at the Grundig-Stadion with Alexander Esswein scoring in the 69th and Mike Fratz in the 87th minute.  Chandler subbed out in the 84th minute.  Danny Williams and Hoffenheim finished 0-0 with Mainz. 

In Norway, Josh Gatt’s Molde lost 2-1 to Viking as the 2013 Eliteserien season kicks off.  Molde led from a 9th minute Mattias Mostrom goal, but Viking were level by the 31st and scored their winner in the 57th minute. Mix Diskerud’s Rosenborg shutout Odd 1-0 on a 71st minute Mike Jensen goal.  In Denmark, Clarence Goodson’s Brondby drew 1-1 with Midtjylland.  Brondby’s Quincy Antipas opened the scoring in the 41st minute with Midtjylland equalizing in the 49th.  The referee booked Goodson in the 74th minute.  Charlie Davies subbed on in stoppage time for Randers 1-0 shutout of Silkeborg.  Ronnie Schwartz scored in the 7th minute. 

Liga MX, and Joe Corona subbed on in the 71st minute for Tijuana’s 2-2 draw with Monterrey.  Tijuana’s Francisco Martinez opened the scoring in the 26th minute at Estadio Caliente, with Monterrey equalizing in the 31st and taking the lead three minutes later.  Dubier Riascos equalized in the 87th minute.  DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco started for Puebla in their 2-1 loss to Pachuca.  Puebla’s Diego de Buen opened the scoring in the 27th minute with Pachuca equalizing in the 89th and scoring their winner in stoppage time.  The referee booked Beasley in the 74th minute.  Jose Torres subbed out in the 82nd minute for Tigres, drawing 1-1 with Chivas.  Herculez Gomez’s Santos Laguna beat Atlas 2-1 at Estadio Jalisco.  Atlas opened the scoring in the 63rd minute from an own-goal with Santos equalizing in the 79th and Carlos Quintero scoring their winner in the 89th minute.  The referee booked Gomez in the 23rd minute.

Did Not Play: Brad Friedel (Spurs 1 – Fulham 0), Brek Shea (Stoke 0 – WBA 0), Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa 3 – QPR 2), Zak Whitbread (Leicester City 1 – Derby County 2), Tim Ream and Stuart Holden (Bolton 0 – Ipswich Town 1), Oguchi Onyewu (Malaga 0 – Espanyol 2), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander 1 – Xerez 1), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg 1 – Hamburg 0), David Yelldell (Bayer Leverkusen 1 – Bayern Munich 2), Jonathan Bornstein (Tigres 1 – Chivas 1)

Injured: Tim Howard (Everton 2 – Manchester City 0), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim 0 – Mainz 0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 0 – ‘Gladbach 1), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana 2 – Monterrey 2)

MLS Week 3: Bring On the Rivalries | US Soccer Players

Rivalry Week’s lack of goal scoring and 1-1 draws might be the story, but the games that broke that trend made it well worth the time.  We start with the two scoreless draws.  New York and DC finished 0-0 on national television on Saturday, with the Red Bulls having the better scoring chances. 

“Whichever way you want to look at it: we left two points out there, or we didn’t get three, or we only got one,” New York coach Mike Petke said.  “Of course we wanted to win. I think we deserved to win, no disrespect to D.C. I think they fought hard for that point. Like I said, if we were playing a game of statistics we got three points today. Unfortunately it’s not a game of statistics and the ball didn’t fall into the net for us.”

Sporting Kansas City and Chicago also finished scoreless at Sporting Park.  Sporting outshot Chicago 20 to 7, but only put 3 of those shots on frame to Chicago’s 1.  Montreal beat Toronto 2-1 at Olympic Stadium to end Saturday’s scoreless streak.  Patrice Bernier opened the scoring for the Impact from the penalty spot in the 34th minute and Marco Di Vaio made it 2-0 in the 46th.  Toronto pulled a goal back when Robert Earnshaw scored in the 68th minute.  Philadelphia shutout New England 1-0 at PPL Park on a 76th minute Jack McInerney goal. 

That was it for the Saturday winners with the final three games ending 1-1.  Up first, we stretch the concept of rivalry week with Columbus hosting San Jose.  Glauber opened the scoring for the Crew in the 68th minute with Justin Morrow equalizing for the Earthquakes six minutes later.  Colorado took the lead on the road against Real Salt Lake when Deshorn Brown scored in the 37th minute.  Alvaro Saborio equalized in the 80th for the 1-1 draw.  Seattle and Portland finished – you guessed it – 1-1 at CenturyLink Field with Portland needing a stoppage time goal from Rodney Wallace to cancel out Eddie Johnson’s 13th minute opener. 

Sunday brought us the highlight game of rivalry week with Dallas getting a late winner in a game available on national cable.  George John opened the scoring in the 34th minute for Dallas and Andrew Jacobson doubled that lead just a minute later.  Andrew Driver scored for Houston in the 79th minute and Brad Davis equalized in the 83rd.  Kenny Cooper scored in stoppage time for the 3-2 Dallas win. 

“It was a pretty wide-open game with two teams that put everything on the field,” Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. “They are very hard-working and had a lot of different weapons coming at us. We got goals today from a defender, a midfielder and a forward, which is seldom you ever get all three lines scoring goals. I hated to see the goals we gave up because I think those are the type of goals that are stoppable.”

Rivalry week ended with the league’s only same-stadium derby and a return to the 1-1 draw with LA and Chivas USA.  With Chivas USA playing a man down from the 40th minute, the Galaxy took the lead from an 83rd minute Jack McBean goal.  Carlos Alvarez scored the short-handed equalizer for Chivas USA in the 89th minute. 

Talking Points from Week 3

1.  Some draws aren’t the same as others.  As easy as it is to look at a string of 0-0 and 1-1 results, some of them were quite watchable games.  That includes the Red Bulls frustrating 90 minutes against DC United.  When talking about New York, it’s tough to say that frustrating moments build character.  Frustration has been a hallmark of this club. 

2. Some draws might be a win, just ask Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola.  “On the field, we won a point, but off the field we won a hundred points in respect. At this point, when we talk about respect, we are a team that deserves to be champion. Our rival is one of the best in the league; they have my admiration and respect for what they do. As for my players, as usual, they kept on fighting, made a great effort, and I would like for everybody to respect that effort. I would like for this institution to be respected as well, that is the way it should be. This institution deserves respect.”

3. Not to get all Tony Edwards on everybody, but we’ll end with a question.  Are we already seeing teams playing with the malaise we normally associate with July and August when the heat and the schedule drags teams down?  It’s at least a fair question when looking back at some of the rivalry week performances.  If you can’t get your game together against your rivals, when can you? 

In MLS, No Bigger Rivalry than NY-DC | US Soccer Players

By Clemente Lisi – Harrison, NJ (March 18, 2013) US Soccer Players – Rivalries define soccer. Without them, there would be less passion, less excitement and less hype. As Major League Soccer and NBC touted this week’s round of games as “Rivalry Week,” there was no bigger rivalry on display than New York versus DC United. The Atlantic Cup showdown is arguably the League’s best and biggest rivalry. After what happened Saturday afternoon, the rivalry between them has gotten even more intense.

With his team locked in a scoreless tie against DC United at Red Bull Arena, New York Red Bulls coach Mike Petke tried to stay calm on the sidelines. He paced. He fidgeted. He even barked orders at his players.

“Push forward,” he shouted at one point midway through the second half. “Come on!”

Whenever DC United got the ball and played it on the left flank to Dwayne DeRosario, Petke stood up and reversed himself, waving his arms and yelling: “Get back! Get back!”

Around him, 22,022 fans braved the 37-degree temperatures and falling snow, chanting incessantly for 90 minutes. After all, there is nothing like a good, old-fashioned rivalry to get the juices flowing for the fans, players and coaches.

The game ended 0-0, although the Red Bulls were the ones to create most of the chances. Not only did New York come closest to scoring (in the 24th minute and again in the 56th when both Fabian Espindola attempts slammed against the crossbar), but the Red Bulls could have won the game at the end.

In a moment that screamed goal-line technology (and with MLS Commissioner Don Garber in attendance), Brandon Barklage’s stoppage-time attempt appeared to be a goal, but United goalkeeper Bill Hamid used a hand to swat the ball away. Replays were inconclusive. The debate will rage on.

A fed-up Petke stood motionless on the sidelines as the players on the bench around him jumped up and down in disbelief.

“Let me tell you, it sucks to sit back and watch it unfold. You just say, ‘What the hell do you have to do to get the ball into the net?’” he told reporters after the game.

Hamid, who had a great afternoon, said the ball never went in.

“I got there before it went over the line,” he said.

Saturday’s game – the first of three games between the teams during the regular season — marked the first meeting between the sides since last year’s tense playoff series, which was twice delayed (by Hurricane Sandy and subsequently by a snowstorm) before United ultimately prevailed.

Historically, these two teams have had little love for one another. Given the geographic proximity of the teams, New York and DC have been natural rivals since the league’s inaugural season in 1996. It is essentially the oldest rivalry in MLS, although the series has been lopsided. Entering the game, DC United held an overall edge of 31-20-8 all-time, including a 6-1-2 record in the playoffs.

Petke, who once played for New York and DC, said both teams have “built up the hatred” over the years.

“It has continued all this time, so for me this game and what it means never changed,” he said. “Even the players today, no matter where the teams are in the standings, have learned to be a part of this. It just lives on.”

For the Red Bulls, 2013 is the chance to once again hit the reset button – but memories never die. New York fans even unfurled a banner to set the tone – emphatically stating “Revenge is Here!” – before the opening whistle. Not to be outdone, a few hundred United fans made the trip north, sitting in a section tucked way up in the upper deck. The contingent also made its voices heard throughout the game.

Both sides had something to cheer about. For the Red Bulls, it marked the first time its overhauled roster played before a home crowd. For United, DeRosario was making his season debut, a much-needed offensive weapon if Ben Olsen’s team wants to go even further than last year’s Eastern Conference final.

In the league’s early years, the then-MetroStars played at Giants Stadium. The league considered the team its flagship franchise and expected it to recreate the days of the New York Cosmos. That never happened. Instead, it was DC United – under coach Bruce Arena — that emerged as the best team, winning the first MLS Cup and building on that a dynasty that lasted for much of the late 1990s. The MetroStars (and later Red Bulls) never lived up to its potential.

The Red Bulls hope that after 18 years of futility and an empty trophy case will culminate with a title in 2013. Thierry Henry, as usual, exuded the most passion on his team. He grimaced and gestured all game long each time his teammates misplayed a ball or turned it over. Henry even shook his head each time he made a mistake or shot the ball off target. For Henry, it has been a frustrating few years in New York.

He remains frustrated. Henry left Red Bull Arena without talking with reporters after yet another disappointment for New York. It was also another chapter in a rivalry between two teams that saw DC United get the better of New York once again.


Clemente Lisi is a New York-based writer. Contact him at: CAL4477@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter at:http://twitter.com/ClementeLisi.

More from Clemente Lisi:

USA Soccer Wins in the Boardroom in 1988 Remembering the USA in the 1950 World Cup Hesmer Makes his Exit By The Numbers… North American Soccer League vs Major League Soccer