My focus as announced last week is on the US National Team for the Summer. I apologize for the lack of MLS coverage. The site while called MLS Talk has created a niche where we cover all aspects of the American game from the national team, through MLS, USL, WPS right on down to the NPSL, PCSL, PDL and College Soccer. Understand when the national team plays particularly in World Cup qualifying the focus must be there for many of us. MLS has done a fair job of trying to schedule better this season and they must be commended for that, even though they still have a long way to go.
* MLS Talk Podcast #84 is now available for download via ITunes. The podcast is entirely focused on MLS and USL related issues.
* Conor Casey, who I’ve advocated as the first choice striking option for the US since September of 2007 has won MLS Player of the Month.
* The US has not been invited to Copa America 2011, with Japan joining Mexico as the other invited nation from outside COMNEBOL.
* Vancouver of USL-1 defeated Toronto FC of MLS 2-0 last night to virtually clinch a CONCACAF Champions League birth. Vancouver (or TFC if they beat Montreal next week by five goals) becomes the sixth team from MLS or USL to clinch a Champions League birth, something sure to be a sore subject in Mexico who only provide four participants, and yet placed all four of last year’s participants in the knock out stages and has three semifinalists. While USL-1′s Puerto Rico Islanders made the semifinals last year, do not expect a similar run from the struggling side this year, which means the current streak of nine straight tournaments without a finalist from a US based league is likely to continue. Toronto FC can make the tournament if they beat Montreal by a score of 5-0 next week at Saputo Stadium. Otherwise Vancouver represents Canada.
* US-Costa Rica has been moved from ESPN to ESPN2 and coverage will now start at 9:30pm ET instead of 10pm ET. Confused? So are many others. Why ESPN moved this match at the last minute after not announcing its coverage plans until last week remains can only be explained in Bristol.
* JP Dellecamara and John Harkes will the match tonight from the ESPN studio as announced last week. They will however call the US-Honduras game from Soldier Field.
* MLS Talk #85 featuring post match reaction from US-Costa Rica and a preview of the weekend’s US qualifier against Honduras among other things will be released late Thursday or early Friday ET.