U.S. Men's National Team

Wednesday Kickoff: USA finishes 18th, Chicago's tough decision and more

USMNTCamp (HowardCSmithISI) 

The U.S. men's national team finished the year ranked 18th in the world, according the latest FIFA World Rankings.

The United States moved up six spots to finish in a tie for 18th with France, one spot behind World Cup opponent Slovenia. Mexico finished the year ranked 27th.

World Cup winner Spain finished the year ranked No. 1, while Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and Argentina rounded out the Top Five.

The FIFA rankings are just one item on the docket this morning. In other developments:


The Chicago Fire currently hold the No. 9 pick in the 2011 MLS Draft, but could lose that pick if it re-signs Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg.

The Seattle Times is reporting that the Fire will have to send its first-round pick to the Seattle Sounders as part of the trade for Ljungberg if Chicago re-signs Ljungberg before the MLS Draft (If Chicago doesn't re-sign Ljungberg, Seattle will get the 27th overall pick from Chicago). If Chicago re-signs Ljungberg after the MLS Draft then the Fire will send Seattle its 2012 first-round pick for Seattle's 2012 second round pick.

What will the Fire do? At this point Chicago seems unlikely to contend for a title in 2011, making the surrendering of a first-round pick in a deep draft a questionable move. At the very least, Chicago should hold off on any move to sign Ljungberg until after the 2011 MLS Draft, assuming the club wants to bring back the aging midfieldre at all.


Stephen Hamilton has stepped down as Chivas USA Vice President of Soccer Operations, becoming the third high-ranking member of Chivas USA to leave the club in recent weeks.

Chivas USA has already seen head coach Martin Vasquez resign and president Shawn Hunter step down. Team advisor Jose Domene has taken over as the team's general manager and will spearhead the club's search for a new head coach.


What do you think of these developments? Happy with the U.S. team's No. 18 ranking? Think Chicago should re-sign Ljungberg? See Chivas USA recovering from such a dramatic overhaul?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Peter

    Maybe the question should be asked: Why is Jonathan Spector the only one in the above photo not wearing red? 😉

    (SBI-Had me for a second there. I suppose Spector and Jesse Marsch do look a little alike. From far away, in a small picture. LOL)


  • maka

    The US finished 18th… a whoop a dee doo

    He loves her, and she loves this guy right here, and he loves somebody else, you just can’t win.


  • Annelid Gustator

    “Maybe the question should be asked: Why is Jonathan Spector the only one in the above photo not wearing red? ;)”

    Soccer is the opposite of Star Trek. Sorry Specs.


  • FulhamPete

    That’s because he’s secretly dead, like the Abbey Road album. Kammarman flubbed the photoshop, and couldn’t find red sweats, even though he could have just modeled Coach Bob with the reds and put a wig on him.


  • jts

    Where did you have Colorado slotted in your pre-season poll?

    I think MLS has enough parity that a team can make a pretty quick turnaround and be competitive and more in one season. Chicago should do what ti takes to be competitve and build. In any case I don’t see FL as a piece to that puzzle. MLS is too physical over a season for him to hold up at his age and condition.


  • kpugs

    How is this even a decision for these guys? Tell Ljungberg you are going to re-sign him after the draft. Then do it. Then trade first round picks, knowing that your crappy team will actually be getting a higher first round pick back from the Sounders. Everybody wins (except the Fire in actual league play next season).


  • franco

    Ummm that’s not Johnny Spector bruh! Click on the pic and you’ll see Spector is wearing the red training gear.


  • Gabe

    I love FIFA rankings….

    Behind Slovenia, eh? FIFA is a laugh. If it listed “Best Holiday Resorts,” I’d bet they’d list Kenya before the USA.


  • Justin O

    The Fire unlikely to contend for the title in 2011? It’s MLS. Everyone is likely “to contend”


  • Annelid Gustator

    Sweet. I thought some of them might get nibbles after their Spain trip. Did you see the highlights? Frankly the level of play by the opponents wasn’t that impressive.


  • Scott

    Ljungberg wasn’t worth his salary in 2010, and he’s definitely not worth keeping in 2011 if he costs the Fire a top pick as well.


  • Kevin_Amold

    These FIFA rankings are ironclad. I don’t think anyone would argue that Egypt, Croatia, Greece, and Norway don’t deserve their rankings based on their performances in the Cup….

    In fairness, the French should be higher than the USA in my opinion. In all seriousness, who votes in these things? Managers? The infamous FIFA 23?


  • fischy

    The FIFA rankings have jumped the shark. Apparently, failing to even qualify for the World Cup is a real boost to a country’s rankings. Egypt at #9, Croatia at #10? Egypt is definitely in the top 9 African sides, but probably shouldn’t register in the top 50 worldwide. Greece at #11? They made the Cup, but they’re not even one of the best 11 European sides.


  • Second City

    For the love of Baby Jesus, please decline re-signing Ljundberg prior to the draft and possibly entirely.

    I’d much rather see them give the minutes/starts in aiding the development of Corben Bone. Especially at the cost of sacraficing a 1st Rd pick on a petulant “DP” that is incapable of leading or being remotely worth his wages.

    Though, let’s be honest…with our current FO’s questionable moves the last two years and DLC still remaining as manager, I have little faith in any decision until the regime changes.

    This team has far too many holes/needs, to surrender picks, let alone a 1st Rd.

    http://www.We‘llsuckuntilDLCisfired.com <— is basically my sentiments on any matter related to Chicago.


  • Second City

    Neither version of of Ljundberg, regardless of spelling =)

    If I were in the Fire FO, the only consideration I give to his return is at a discounted rate/non-DP salary.

    As mentioned above, I’d rather the starts/minutes go to Corben Bone in the midfield.

    Chicago needs to rebuild, not run in place.


  • Kevin_Amold

    It’s hilarious to me. Obviously not every team that makes the cup should be in the top 32, but it’s just ridiculous that Egypt and Norway stay as high as they are. Has Norway even qualified for a Cup or Euro in the last 10 years?

    It’s just a source of amusement.


  • DC Josh

    I’m sick and tired of FIFA. Everything they do is a joke. Every time I hear them mentioned Benny Hill music pops in my head.


  • DC Josh

    The MLS website has them under their videos section. It also has a really cool daily video blog on the Generation ADIDAS team.


  • Jeremy

    Lol…so why would you rather he didn’t come back? Just for the opportunity to develop Bone or are there other reasons?


  • Krzysztof

    Surely Kenya holiday resorts over USA would not be a surprise, would it? Indian Ocean and safari, what else would you need for holiday?

    And as far as the rating is concerned, there is always ELO football rating for those who take these kind of things more seriously.


  • Dainja

    Thanks man. I may not be a huge fan of their league, but I gotta stop sleepin on the MLS site!


  • Don Pelayo

    Ljungberg is overrated. The Sounders made a great move when they offloaded him. He is old, slow, and selfish…and definitely not a player to build a team around.


  • lose

    I can believe we’re ranked no 18. We’re a respectable middle of the road NT. We just need to strengthen our defense and make our home matches something to be feared. And of course have our strikers actually make defenders cry.

    BTW to the above poster who mentioned it. Yep Norway was last in Euro 2000. They may make it to Euro2012, but they don’t have any talented players in the pipeline now, same with Denmark and Sweden. They losing out to the Eastern European players.


  • Common Sense

    The FIFA rankings are according to point system that has been dated back for some time. Although some teams in the top 20 def. don’t deserve to be there in present time, overall they managed to edge out other teams.

    This isn’t based on quality of teams now.


  • b

    For those who are complaining about the FIFA Rankings based on the position of countries like Egypt and Norway, is ELO really much better?

    14 Egypt
    17 Norway
    24 United States


  • Brian

    This Seattle/Chicago-Ljungberg thing is stupid. If they don’t want to re-sign him, then obviously they shouldn’t re-sign him, but if they’re going to re-sign him why on earth would they do it before the draft? It’s not like they’re gonna lose anything waiting until after the draft. Did Seattle really think Chicago was stupid enough to re-sign him before the draft?


  • Jeremy

    Seriously? Are you too dense to realize that Seattle will get a pick for him regardless if he re-signs before the draft, after the draft, or doesn’t re-sign at all?


  • Josh D

    It’s easy: Slovenia plays harder opponents than we do.

    It’s like comparing a team in a the Championship and a team in the Premier League and complaining that the Championship team isn’t properly compared to the PL even though they beat Arsenal in the FA Cup and have more points than the Premier League champions… Apples and Oranges.


  • mikeandike

    lol, of all the ‘random’ African countries to pick, he had to pick the one that actually does offer awesome holiday resorts…

    In the heart of Masai Mara, luxury tent camps go for 2k+ per night….

    And Masai Mara beats any national park or resort in our great country, hands down


  • Brian

    Uh yeah. I definitely realized that in every situation they lose something. I might have misspoke though. When I said “It’s not like they’re gonna lose anything waiting until after the draft”, I was under the assumption that if they signed Freddie BEFORE the draft the Fire would give up their 9th overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft and if they signed him AFTER the draft they’d ONLY give up their 27th overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft. Under that belief, it clearly wouldn’t make sense for the Fire to sign him before the draft, but…

    What I didn’t realize was in addition to just straight up losing their 27th overall pick in the upcoming draft, the Fire also have to swap their 1st round pick in 2012 for Seattle’s 2nd round pick in 2012.

    So to be clear:

    If Chicago does re-sign Ljungberg before the SuperDraft, then Seattle receives the 9th overall pick (the Fire’s first-round pick) in the 2011 draft.

    If Chicago does re-sign Ljungberg after the SuperDraft, then Seattle receives the 27th overall pick (the Fire’s second-round pick) in the 2011 draft, and Sounders FC will swap its second-round pick in 2012 for the Fire’s first-round pick in 2012.

    So if Chicago does indeed want to keep Freddie, then re-signing him before the draft is WAAY worse in the short term (losing the 9th pick, compared to the 27th). But signing Freddie after the draft has the added 1st round-2nd round pick swap in the 2012 draft.

    If I’m the person in charge of the Chicago Fire, things were so bad last season that I feel like I NEED to have this 9th round pick in the 2011 draft because they might be able to really contribute this upcoming season, and I’m confident that we can have a good season. Therefore swapping a late-round 1st round pick in 2012 for Seattle’s 2nd round pick in 2012 won’t be as big of deal. Who knows maybe Seattle has an off year, and their 2nd round pick ends up being an early 2nd round pick.


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