Author: Matt Lichtenstadter

Lionel Messi’s legacy won’t be overshadowed by lack of success with Argentina

Photo credit: USA Today Sports Images. Despite losses in the last two summers in major tournament Finals for Argentina and Lionel Messi, he somehow managed to keep his expression in check, as well as his disappointment. But by the third time last night at MetLife Stadium, the weight of the world, the internal turmoil at the Argentinian FA and the pressure seemed to collapse on his shoulders, and finally he could bear the weight no more. Whether he’s retired for good is a question for a later date, even though many in the world will have their doubts. But do ... Read more

USA’s humbling defeat against Argentina overshadows progress made by team

Losing 4-0 to anyone will always look terrible, no matter the opponent, even if it’s against one of the world’s best teams. Argentina might not have moved out of second gear Tuesday night, but even in cruise control they still looked nearly untouchable. Though the US played badly, and may not have set themselves up to succeed, the best of this current US Men’s National Team might not have fared much better. Because of that, this game should not be a referendum on anything other than Argentina’s own might. Despite what the game in Houston may have shown, the US has ... Read more

Overly defensive tactics aren’t working for teams in Copa America and Euro 2016

Maybe the story of this wonderful summer of soccer can be how even though teams can defend marvelously for nearly an entire game, fate isn’t often as kind to them. Though teams like Northern Ireland and Italy have proven you can win on the strength of solid shape and heroic defending, sometimes fate doesn’t smile on everyone equally. Albania met this fate against France, and Friday night at MetLife Stadium, Peru met that fate against Colombia. Ricardo Gareca set out from the start to have his team frustrate and constrict Colombia, and they did so marvelously. James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado, ... Read more

How Chile’s style is evolving after the change from Jorge Sampaoli to Juan Antonio Pizzi

Under Marcelo Bielsa and Jorge Sampaoli, Chile went from one of the afterthoughts of South American soccer to one of the most entertaining national teams on the planet. The transformation was sometimes slow and rough, and Claudio Borghi’s tenure was not a pleasant one in between the teacher and student. After Sampaoli resigned earlier this year, Chile struggled not only to find a manager to continue the two men’s legacy, but a manager in general. Juan Antonio Pizzi was charged with bringing Chile forward after their Copa America triumph last year, and in his first major assignment, his team are ... Read more

USA’s win against Ecuador epitomizes Klinsmann’s vision for US soccer

Photo credit: USA Today Sports Images. Before this Copa America, Jurgen Klinsmann said that his goal was to make the semifinals of the tournament. Some scoffed and some wondered whether that goal was attainable. Now, as the US prepares to head to Houston for the semifinal on Tuesday against Argentina or Venezuela, Klinsmann and his team deserve the credit for not only getting there, but getting there as only a US National Team can. Keeping together the same lineup for three straight games was unique and in some ways shocking for this Klinsmann-led team. His talk, and his walk, have ... Read more

John Brooks’ improvement as a player is a big reason for USA’s success in Copa America

Even before John Brooks became a US Men’s National Team star, he was always regarded as one of the brightest prospects for the future. His brief and few appearances for US youth teams offered guarded optimism about the future of a position that had become quite unsettled after Carlos Bocanegra’s retirement and Oguchi Onyewu’s injury struggles. His goal against Ghana in the World Cup notwithstanding, he has shown the flashes of brilliance that so many have been hoping to see. In this Copa America, he has become the central defender that everyone believed he could be, with the win against ... Read more

Belief returns to USMNT squad after passing Costa Rica and Paraguay tests with flying colors

Photo credit: USA Today Sports Images. When American college basketball player, coach, and broadcaster Jim Valvano coined the term “survive and advance,” he certainly wasn’t referring to a must-not-lose final game in the group stage of a major tournament. After the US survived going down to 10 men for the majority of the second half against Paraguay, the term feels apt. Now Jurgen Klinsmann’s team travels to Seattle for the knockout stages of the Copa America Centenario after gutting out a 1-0 win. Entering the second half with that 1-0 lead, and only needing a draw to confirm their place, the ... Read more

Five years into Jurgen Klinsmann’s reign, US coach returns to city where it all began

Photo credit: USA Today Sports Images. Nearly five years ago, Jurgen Klinsmann took charge of his first game as the US Men’s National Team head coach against Mexico at Lincoln Financial Field. Now he returns for the first time since then to that stadium with the prospect of advancing to the Copa America Centenario knockout stages. His tenure has been marked by many highs and many lows, with plenty of grey area in between. While it is not unusual to see massive change in four years and 10 months, this game offers a great chance of seeing just how much has changed since ... Read more