The Backcut Podcast: Taylor Twellman on USMNT, Gold Cup, MLS & his organization Think Taylor. Also: Big Heads vs. Red Heads
Taylor Twellman. The very name evokes images of MLS Legend and flair as a 5-time MLS All-Star and 2005 MLS MVP who scored a whopping 101 goals in 174 matches for the New England Revolution.
Since retired, Twellman has become one of the top analysts for ESPN soccer broadcasts alongside Adrian Healey—you heard him this past weekend on the Timbers-FC Dallas match—as well as the equally opinionated Big Head to Alexi Lalas’ Red Head on the aptly named ESPN Big Head Red Head Podcast.
But Twellman has also become a leading spokesperson around increased awareness of and improved care around traumatic brain injuries through his foundation Think Taylor. During the course his time as a player, Twellman suffered a series of concussions that curtailed his soccer career. Think Taylor looks to help tell his story and provide a support system for athletes across all sports and ages who suffer concussions and their after effects.
I sat down with Twellman this past weekend to talk about his thoughts on the recent run of U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifiers that he has been covering for ESPN, how he thinks Jurgen Klinsmann will utilize this summer’s Gold Cup tournament in furthering development around the U.S. team and how the Think Taylor Foundation is changing people’s perceptions around concussions. We also discuss the three biggest stories in MLS so far (Spoiler: The Timbers are one of them) and renew the age old debate: Big Head vs. Red Head.
Be sure to tune in to tonight’s U.S. – Honduras match at 6pm on ESPN and don’t forget to get tickets for the USMNT when they come to JELD-WEN Field for the Gold Cup on July 9.
The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.
Halfway through the Hexagonal, the United States men’s national team is in control of the table, taking 10 points from five games. Tonight, The Yanks face Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah. This matchup comes on the heels of the USA’s 2-0 win over Panama at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.
The USMNT win over Panama was not only an exciting, well-played match by the Stars and Stripes; it was a spectacular display by the American Outlaws and Pacific Northwest soccer fans. United States coach Jürgen Klinsmann and his players admired the crowd, and spoke to the level of excellence demonstrated by Northwest fans.
Check out KICKTV’s video recap of the game, and tune in at 6 p.m. PT tonight on ESPN to see the United States vs. Honduras.
While Bolton's Stuart Holden looks like a lock to make Jurgen Klinsmann's squad for this summer's Gold Cup, according to Soccer America, Alejandro Bedoya is also making his case to be included in the team--if not for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in June. Currently playing with Helsingborgs in Sweden, the one-time Rangers midfielder put in this great assist against BK Häcken.
Landon Donovan's near term future with the USMNT has also been a topic of late given his long leave of absence during the offseason. Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl recently reported that Klinsmann plans to omit the LA Galaxy star from the upcoming World Cup qualifiers as well as friendlies. Klinsmann had hinted earlier this spring that this may be the case saying, "there are players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan right now."
Wahl goes on to say though that the Gold Cup roster could remain a possiblity for the U.S. star. You can also hear more about Wahl's thoughts on the Gold Cup in the last edition of the Backcut Podcast.
For a guy with 144 caps and 49 goals for the national team, it seems like the Gold Cup could be a good stage to work him back into the mix. What do you think? Who should feature for the USMNT in this Gold Cup tournament? Get your tickets now for the July 9 match against Belize.
UPDATE: Donovan addressed the situation on the Galaxy's All-Access Podcast on Tuesday saying, “Jurgen and I have consistently spoken over many months now. I was not aware that that was information that was already made public. Jurgen has not told me that it was definitive that I wouldn't be there – you never know. All I can do, as I've said all along, is do what I do."
World Cup qualifiers. Gold Cup roster. Donovan probably fits in there somewhere. The question is where and when.
A busy summer awaits for Jurgen Klinsmann and his USMNT squad as they'll have key World Cup qualifiers in June followed by the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.
Portland will host two group stage matches in a double header on July 9 with US vs. Belize and Costa Rica against Cuba. Who Klinsmann will bring to Portland has been a big discussion but there's at least one name that has surfaced: Bolton's Stuart Holden.
The ex-Houston Dynamo midfielder became a key player in the EPL before a series of injuries tripped him up. Now on the comeback with a number of appearances on loan with Sheffield Wednesday, Klinsmann said of Holden, "I spoke to his coach at Bolton, and spoke to his coach at Sheffield Wednesday where he played some very important minutes and games while on loan. He’s on his way back. That being said, we want to have him back in our picture. We are going to bring him for the May-June camp, and also for the Gold Cup.”
Read more about the story over at ussoccer.com, watch video on Holden's inspiring comeback below, listen to SI's Grant Wahl talk about what to expect with this summer's Gold Cup and then get tickets for the Gold Cup showdown at JELD-WEN Field.
Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan scores on 100th birthday of U.S. Soccer; Christine Sinclair assists for Canada
On the U.S. Soccer Federation's 100th birthday, Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan and the U.S. Women's National Team had a bit of a crazy game against Germany this morning. Despite taking a 3-1 lead on goals by Abby Wambach (47th minute), Megan Rapinoe (55) and Morgan (71), Germany battled back with two late goals in the 85th and 86th minute in front of 16,090 fans in Offenbach, Germany. Second-half sub Sydney Leroux had a late effort saved off the line in one of the wilder games in recent U.S. WNT memory.
Morgan started and played the full 90 minutes for the United States, while Thorns FC defender Rachel Buehler was an unused substitute. Midfielder Tobin Heath, who will join Thorns FC this summer after playing out her contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain, entered the match in the 77th minute for Heather O'Reilly.
Morgan's goal in the 71st minute came off a long, curling pass over the top of Germany's defense from FC Kansas City midfielder Lauren Cheney.
On Thursday morning, Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair and the Canada Women's National Team tangled with France in a rematch of the London 2012 Olympics bronze-medal match (which Canada won). Despite going down 1-0 during first-half stoppage time on a well-placed Elodie Thomis goal, Canada kept it close and struck late in second-half stoppage time.
Sinclair collected a deflected ball and slipped a pass right into the path of Kaylyn Kyle in the fourth-minute of second-half stoppage time and Kyle netted the equalizer for Canada in front of 5,783 fans at Stade du Ray in Nice, France. Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was an unused sub for the match.
Canada is back in action on Sunday, April 7 at 7 a.m. (Pacific) against England at New York Stadium in Rotherham, England. The U.S. Women's National Team visits The Hague, Netherlands on Tuesday, April 9, for a 10 a.m. (PT) match against the Netherlands at Kyocera Stadium.
So you may have heard there was some snow in Denver tonight for the USA vs. Costa Rica Hex World Cup Qualifier. Dempsey gave the U.S. the 1-0 win.
With the U.S. Men's National Team busy preparing for their World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica tomorrow night (7pm PT, ESPN), KICKTV has put together this very nice primer on just what the Hexagonal is. In short, it's the long and difficult pathway for CONCACAF teams to qualify for the World Cup.
Elsewhere in the Hex, Timbers forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts go to battle for Jamaica as they take on Panama in Kingston on Friday evening at 6:30pm PT. Updates throughout the match can be found via the Jamaican Football Federation's Twitter feed @ItsTheJFF.
Over in Africa, Futty Danso joined the Scorpions of The Gambia National Team for a World Cup qualifier on Saturday against Ivory Coast. In a tune-up friendly this week against Niger, Danso scored the second goal in a 3-1 win.
Also in action tomorrow is Timbers midfielder Will Johnson whose Canadian Men's National Team is in Qatar for a friendly against Japan.
Good afternoon from the Doha Sports City in Qatar. The facilities are immaculate. twitter.com/WillJohnson04/…
— Will Johnson (@WillJohnson04) March 19, 2013
Follow @CanadaSoccerEN for updates tomorrow beginning at 9am PT.
The U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada at the London 2012 Olympics. That’s really all that needs to be said, but in case you were on a trip to the Outback last summer and didn’t have access to a TV, internet, newspaper or any other form of news media here’s a quick refresher.
August 6, 2012 … Old Trafford … Manchester, England ... Olympic Semifinal
Christine Sinclair gives Canada a 1-0 lead 22 minutes into the match in front of 26,640 fans at famed Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, and the teams enter the interval with Canada grasping a 1-0 lead and a chance to head to the gold medal match.
USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe equalizes in the 54th minute and the match becomes a slugfest with Sinclair and Rapinoe (both former standouts at the University of Portland) trading goals. Sinclair nets her second goal, putting Canada ahead 2-1 in the 67th minute … Rapinoe hits back with her second, tying the score at 2-2 three minutes later in the 70th minute.
Sinclair gets a hat-trick with the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute and Canada carries a one-goal lead into the final 10 minutes of regular time before the real drama kicks in. Canada’s goalkeeper Erin McLeod is called for holding onto the ball for more than six seconds – a rarely enforced rule, but one that awards the U.S. with an indirect free kick inside Canada’s penalty box. On the free kick, the ball strikes a Canadian player on the arm and a penalty kick is called.
Abby Wambach steps up and buries the spot kick to level the score at 3-3 in the 80th minute.
The two sides battled to a stalemate through 30 minutes of extra time, trading jabs before U.S. forward Alex Morgan rose up and looped a header into the goal in the third minute of stoppage time, the game’s 123rd minute to be exact and the latest ever goal scored in a FIFA competition.
Now, catch your breath.
The rematch is coming on June 2 in Toronto as the U.S. Women’s National Team faces Canada in an international (not so) friendly for the first time since that drama-filled Olympic semifinal match. Mark your calendar as several Thorns FC teammates could potentially clash on the field. Clearly, there are no medals on the line, but there's no doubt the intensity will be heightened as Canada will look to repay the USA for the match last summer.
After a tense opening, it was a rollicking show in KC last night as the USMNT moved on to the hexagonal round of World Cup qulaifying with a 3-1 win over Guatemala:
Timbers Army were also represented at LIVESTRONG Park:
— Chris Brewer (@iamchrisbrewer) October 17, 2012
If you were watching the Timbers 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday night, you may have noticed Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy not with the team. This was due to both men being away with their respective national teams as Purdy was with El Salvador and Palmer with Jamaica. With both national teams matching up against one another Wednesday evening at RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C., there was a unique Timbers intrasquad rivalry at play with Palmer’s Jamaica beating Purdy’s El Salvador 2-0.
Palmer and Purdy both started and played the full 90 minutes battling against one another. Jamaica’s midfielder Luton Shelton would give The Reggae Boyz the win as he put two goals into the back of the net. Now not only does Palmer have a little bit of bragging rights here in Portland, but he also gets a nice home cooked meal of his choice made by Purdy due to a bet placed earlier on Twitter.
This past Sunday, Purdy and La Selecta took to the pitch in the first of their two matches this week as they played Guatemala to a 1-0 victory at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Purdy started and played the full 90 minutes while teammate Nelson Bonilla scored the only goal of the game in the 28th minute to give the Central Americans a boost ahead of the next round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Jamaica will play Kenya next in a friendlyl on Aug. 25 followed by a World Cup qualifier against the U.S. on Sept. 11 in Columbus. El Salvador will play Guyana in a World Cup Qualifier on Sept. 7.
RECAP in Spanish: La Prensa Grafica – El Salvador lost 0-2 against Jamaica