It's that time again, soccer fans.
By the end of World Cup Qualification, there will undoubtedly be more Americans rocking a Michael Bradley hairdo than ever before - either as an iconic tribute or a sign of the grueling process that is hexagonal play.
It all kicks off in Honduras at Estadio Olimpico today (1 p.m. PT / beIN Sport). Earthquakes fans will recognize one familiar face suiting up: center back Victory Bernardez.
No idea what the hex entails? What should the U.S. expect in San Sula? Need some insight as to why Hondurans love Jonathan Bornstein?
KICKTV has all of that and more in a brilliantly produced match preview. Check it out!
As a March Madness maniac, I was ecstatic when I heard that Gus Johnson aka My Passion Bucket is Full (See: Passion Bucket) was signing on to broadcast a few Earthquakes games over the radio in 2012.
Not to gush, but the guy is a living legend in my circle. If I scored a game-winning three to win an NCAA Championship, I would want Gus on the call. No play-by-play brings more energy to a game. Nobody.
That's why I was thrilled to see Sports Illustrated's report today that Gus is being groomed to be Fox's voice of the World Cup in 2018. Even as a soccer rookie in the booth last season, you could see glimmers of what the guy is capable of.
"Game tied at one ... Chavez, trying to maneuver on the far touchline ... still handling ... left foot ... cross, Lenhart - OH AND HE HEADS IT IN!"
Sign me up for some Gus Johnson in 2018. Rise and fire.
Simon Dawkins has completed a late-night loan move to the end of the season from Tottenham. #AVFC
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) January 31, 2013
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 31, 2013
It's official: Simon Dawkins will join Aston Villa on loan for the remainder of the English Premier League season.
Obviously, this isn't the news Earthquakes fans wanted to hear. However, this doesn't completely shut the door on a future move. In theory, Dawkins could still make a permanent move stateside after the EPL season ends.
Dawkins scored 14 goals and three in 53 appearances - largely as a left midfielder - for the Earthquakes in two seasons.
There weren't a lot of familiar faces on the field for San Jose's 2-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on Tuesday, but a pair of goals from Alexandre Emerson left fans scramling to track down details about the mystery trialist.
Emerson is actually a San Jose native. He left for Mexico when he was 13, suiting up for Chivas before settling in with Necaxa.
You can check out Emerson's finishes in the highlights above. Other players appearing in the reel include: Adam Jahn (first shot), Evan Newton (first save), Tommy Muller (blocked shot), Matt Fondy (goal called back), Jesus Guzman (second-half goalkeeper) and Jacob Hustedt (drew penalty).
Quakes' President Dave Kaval has been hard at work to build the Quakes' new stadium, set to open across from the San Jose Airport in 2014. San Jose's fearless leader sat down last week to participate in a panel discussion titled, "The ReInvention of the Arena Experience" to discuss how stadiums directly impact the overall fan experience as well as add color to the progress of the Quakes' new stadium.
A full recap of the panel can be viewed in the video below.
The Earthquakes will be well represented in Houston tonight when the U.S. Men's National Team faces a young Canadian squad at BBVA Compass Stadium (6 p.m. PT / ESPN2).
Forward Chris Wondolowski is aiming to make his ninth cap while left back Justin Morrow hopes to earn his first. Not that we're biased over here at sjearthquakes.com, but we've penciled both into our starting XI prediction (see below).
In case you need a bit more backgorund info going into the match, we've got some links for you:
Now, about that un-biased lineup prediction. Here's what I've got (feel free to chime in with your choices):
Chris Wondolowski is hard at work with the U.S. Men's National Team ahead of tomorrow night's 6:00 p.m. PST match against Canada at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.
Wondo, the 2012 Volkswagen MLS MVP, is seeking his ninth cap and is eager to impress head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The match may just be a friendly but has implications for Klinsmann's future roster ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifying round starting in February.
Wondo's past three seasons have been nothing short of sensational - 61 goals in 90 MLS Regular Season matches. The predatory finisher is aiming to transfer such a goal-scoring prowess onto the international scene.
The Danville, Calif. native sat down with ussoccer.com to shed light on his past accomplishments while also forecast his hopes for the matches ahead. To watch the interview and catch highlights of Wondo with the U.S. Men's National Team, click here.
Earthquakes' President Dave Kaval is knee-deep in stadium planning.
With a new stadium set to inaugurate the 2014 season, Kaval and staff have been working diligently to see that even the most minute of tasks are executed successfully. The benefactors, of course, will be the Quakes' faithful.
Currently, San Jose plays in the intimate but limiting Buck Shaw Stadium. Routine sellouts cheer on the black and blue no matter the opponent. Yet, with a successful groundbreaking in October, 2012, the Quakes will open a soccer-specific stadium located on Coleman Ave across from the San Jose Airport. The new stadium will hold 18,000 with room for expansion.
Dave Kaval sat down to speak with Nancy Lin, the host of Business Reinvention, to not only discuss the current state of construction but also, more broadly, to inspect the growing state of soccer in the U.S. The Quakes' President has led a number of sports business panels in recent months and will share his insight on soccer relative to other American sports as well as soccer's following abroad.
To listen to the podcast, click here.
A dramatic weekend of FA Cup results left an indelible mark on the overall strength of some Premier League sides. Notably, Liverpool's rollercoaster season continued after an embarassing 3-2 loss to League One side Oldham. Such improbable results shape the tournament's excitement. 2012 Champions League holders Chelsea almost fell victim to Liverpool's fate. If it wasn't for a Fernando Torres equalizer, Chelsea's interim manager Rafa Benitez would probably have seen his last match in charge of the Blues.
Matches of the Week:
Arsenal vs. Liverpool: Wednesday, January 30, 11:45 a.m. PST, Emirates Stadium
Arsenal's title tilt may be finally turning in its favor. Sitting in sixth place, the Gunners put the finishing touches on London rivals West Ham last weekend with an emphatic 5-1 victory. French hitman Olivier Giroud's left-foot keeps on getting better. Giroud bagged a brace against West Ham and added another in this past week's FA Cup action.
Could Arsene Wenger finally have refined his team into that reminiscent of 2003 and 2004? Maybe. A lot of question marks still remain for an inconsistent, yet offensively appealing side. To the delight of the Arsenal faithful, Theo Walcott has re-signed and looks to maintain his scoring streak.
Liverpool's inconsistency, though, knows no bounds. The verdict is still out on Brendan Rodgers' philosopy and methodology to return the club back to prominence despite the Barcelona-esque soccer he employed at Swansea last year (often dubbed Swanselona). The mercurial Luis Suarez has been a seldom golden light for the Reds. Suarez has bagged 16 Premier League goals but the club still sits in seventh place on 34 points, three points behind Arsenal.
Liverpool has yet to beat a side above them in the 2012/13 Premier League season and this week's encounter at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium may not be the most welcoming place to start.
With both teams firing on all cylinders and managers preaching a free-flowing ideology, goals may come aplenty for both sides.
Fulham vs. West Ham: Wednesday, January 30, 12:00 p.m. PST, Craven Cottage
An appetizing London derby between Fulham and West Ham, sitting in the 14th and 12th positions respectively, may paint a better picture of the ominous relegation battle looming over both sides. A mere two points seperate Fulham and West Ham (25 and 27 respectively).
Fulham's 2012/13 form has yet to mirror that of the previous season. The loss of Clint Dempsey to Tottenham may be partially to blame but the paucity of goalscorers and creativity may be more at fault. The addition of Man United's want-away Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov would have been perceived to add a certain elegance to the Cottagers' goal-scoring chances. With only seven goals in the Premier League, Berbatov is still seeking the form that catapulted him to Man United. Fulham will introduce Emmanuel Frimpong, a young Arsenal midfielder now on-loan to the Cottagers, against West Ham. The move will be mutually beneficial for both parties; Frimpong will gain experience for Arsenal's sake, and Fulham should see heightened team performances.
Big Sam Allardyce holds the reigns for a gritty West Ham side looking to maintain their survival in the top-flight. Recent acquisition and former West Ham youth product Joe Cole will add his veteran abilities to a predominantly English side. The forecast appears bright for West Ham despite the 5-1 drubbing from Arsenal last week. At an enviable 12th place in the table, West Ham will continue to seek points in whatever way possible.
Man City vs. Liverpool: Sunday, February 3, 8:00 a.m. PST, Etihad Stadium
Liverpool's tough week will conclude at nearby Etihad Stadium. Two wins, against Arsenal and City, may be the catalyst that both the Kop and Brendan Rodgers need to not only surge players' confidence but to execute the team's vision.
City will also see their second match of the week. City travel to QPR on Tuesday, Jan. 29 to face a new-look side now under the guidance of relegation specialist Harry Redknapp. Considering City's depth, many would expect City to walk away with the three points. Manchester's "noisy neighbors" have won their past three Premier League matches including beating Arsenal 2-0 and a resolute Stoke City side 1-0.
Should Liverpool find a way to claim two wins over the week, Brendan Rodgers' efforts may have finally come to fruition. Based on past results for the Reds this year, City should be triumphant and Roberto Mancini's side will continue their focus on retaining the Premier League crown.
Quakes' General Manager John Doyle has been placed on the National Soccer Hall of Fame ballot for the class of 2013. Voting will conclude on Feb. 22 and the results will be announced shortly thereafter.
Doyle has had an esteemed soccer career as both a player and now as an executive. An All-America honoree at the University of San Francisco, Doyle would go on to establish himself as a model soccer professional in the 1980's and 1990's. The defender played for the San Francisco BlackHawks, the then-San Jose Clash, and the San Jose Earthquakes. Doyle would make his final appearance for the Quakes in 2000.
A veteran of the U.S. Men's National Team, Doyle represented the Red, White, and Blue in the 1990 FIFA World Cup and earned 53 full international caps for his country.
As illustrious as his playing career was, Doyle has led his former team to new heights from an executive standpoint. The Quakes' General Manager was integral in assembling the 2012 team that put together a franchise-best record of 19-6-9 and won their second Supporters' Shield trophy.
To read the full story about John Doyle and the voting, click here.