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Wednesday Ticker: Crew ties Toluca, Jones targeting World Cup, and more

CONCACAF CL

The Columbus Crew looked primed for a blowout loss after falling behind 2-0 to Toluca in CONCACAF Champions League action, but the MLS power climbed off the mat and sent yet another Mexican team away from Crew Stadium without a win.

Missing several key players due to injury and suspension, the Crew didn't look to have the weapons to recover from the early two-goal deficit, but Steven Lenhart stepped up and scored two goals to help Columbus salvage a 2-2 tie in the first-leg of their quarterfinal series.

The Crew will now head to Mexico for next Wednesday's second leg in Toluca needing a win or a draw of 3-3 or more to advance to the Champions League semifinals. Columbus will be attempting to become the first MLS team to win a competitive match in Mexico.

Here are some other stories to get your Wednesday going:

JONES TARGETS WORLD CUP AS PAIN LINGERS

Jermaine Jones is still feeling pain in his surgically-repaired leg, but he revealed that playing in the World Cup in the United States is still a dream he is holding on to.

Jones is currently in Munich, where he is undergoing laser therapy to try and combat the pain he is still feeling in his legs. While Jones admitted uncertainty about whether he would play for Schalke this season, Jones told the Frankfurter Rundschau that is still hoping to play a part in the U.S. national team's World Cup plans.

"The World Cup is my goal. I want to jump on this train," Jones said.

Jones spent time with the U.S. national team last week during its visit to Amsterdam for last Wednesday's 2-1 exhibition loss to the Netherlands. He is still considered a long shot to make the team, having been out of action since undergoing surgery for a hairline fracture in his leg last summer.

ESTUDIANTES HELD IN LIBERTADORES

Defending Copa Libertadores champions Estudiantes failed to find the net in settling for a 0-0 draw against Bolivian side Bolivar in Libertadores group action on Tuesday.

Ecuadorian club Deportivo Cuenca downed Mexican side Morelia, 2-0, while Chilean rivals Universidad Catolica and Universidad de Chile played to a 2-2 tie. Racing club of Uruguay defeated Cerro Porteno, 2-1, in other Libertadores action on Tuesday.

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What did you think of the Crew's performance? Think Columbus can get a result in Mexico? Still holding out hope that Jermaine Jones will get healthy in time to be considered for a World Cup place?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. I agree. where was the defensive pressure?? However, it could have been a tactic by Bob to give them some space in the back.

    I agree with the others, we played a relatively good game against a very strong side missing 6 regular starters and 1 star with the flu, not too shabby

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  2. Give me number 21-23 on your roster and make a case those players have a better talent set than a healthy Jermaine Jones. The last five players on the roster will not make the bench and watch so why not give up one of those spots to a guy who has the potential to greatly impact your quality.

    Those guys for me are a 4th FWD, 3rd Keeper ?(understand the need for 3 keepers in camp but only two need to board the plane to SA), and an extra winger. For me it is Hanneman, Bedoya (Beasley is in the first 21), and Finley as 22-24. One of those guys is not going anyway, so lets say we only take 3 fwds and Finley is left off. So would you rather have MH or Bedoya than a healthy Jones? I take Jones in the 23 over MH, also including Beasley negates the need for Bedoya.

    Plus if he is back playing by May he gets 2 friendlies to play in to show his worth.

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  3. Inspite of that, I am going to say there is a bigger drop off fielding reserves for the Crew versus reserves for the Toluca.

    Adding back those players, even if it is for both teams, will help the Crew.

    Enough to overcome playing in Mexico, we will see. Hopefully, it would be great to see a team from our league in the Club World Cup finals.

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  4. Clearly, you’re right. Others are being silly. Tim Howard was recently quoted on how Jones would fit in. It’s all about his health and fitness. Frankly, though, if he doesn’t get in with Schalke before season’s end, I think it’s silly to think he’ll be healthy or fit enough, much less sharp enough to make the national side.

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  5. Also, I didn’t say that we did poor in that game either. Just that it was not a good performance defensively until the final third.

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  6. Sure, that may have been the case. No matter the personnel and injuries, we didn’t pressure them in the final 2/3 of the field until the 70th minute. What if all the same players can’t go in SA? Are you OK with England holding possession for 70 minutes? Surely Rooney and Co. will make us pay dearly if that’s the case. Holland didn’t have there best pure finisher in RVP, so that could easily equate to why the were so poor in the final third.

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  7. Wow couldn’t agree more with this comment. I rewatched the Netherlands game on 360 and it was even a lot closer than I initially thought. Really an excellent performance by the Nats.

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  8. ha! 2 funny points!
    That would be sick to beat Germany.
    But, it would be sick if he got carded out of the germany game… bleh

    We all know (if we had any doubts before) after the Netherlands game that Americans do not get calls in soccer. It is always going to be an uphill battle because we don’t start on the same level!

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  9. He isn’t a DM, he plays both sides from what I have seen of him unlike Clark or Edu. Edu is a better player than Clark. So he could easily leave Clark, maybe Edu, out if he gets healthy enough.

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  10. I think its a tough call either way especially in a stacked midfield. Maybe BB can leave off a forward he was planning on bringing since Donovan and Demps give him some cover in that regard. It might be worth taking that gamble in exchange for say Brian Ching or Robbie Findley. I guess it depends on how highly Bob rates those guys.

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  11. dude, he tops edu or clark if healthy.

    I just hope, if it happens, that both parties (jones camp and usmnt camp) come together on the same page (usmnt camp) and have fun. I don’t want any behind the scenes drama or issues ala David Beckham…if that is going to happen, leave him behind. I think Jones is a worker, so it shouldn’t be a problem because he’ll prove it on the practice field.

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  12. What you do not know is that Toluca did not field their strongest team and left Mancilla and Calderon on the bench. The Crew have a shot but a slim one. The only reason the Crew have a shot is that Mexican teams rarely take competitions outside the domestic league serious. UNAM is fielding a reserve squad tonight as well.

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  13. People w/ no perspective that we had a ton of key injuries and were up against a sick top-5 Dutch side in Amsterdam that brought van der Vaart, Huntelaar, and Babel off the bench and could only manufacture a couple soft goals against us sicken me.

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  14. Howard’s remarks about Jones do have one key limitation. It won’t be Howard losing minutes to a guy that never played a game before for the US and frankly, never showed much interest in playing for the US.

    I have no malice vs. Jones, he was a hell of a player when healthy, but realistically, he hasn’t played for along time. and it’s certainly a stretch to call him an American regardless of how FIFA changed the eligibility.

    We’ll see, I guess.

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  15. I was at the crew game and am an avid supporter. I saw how we played in the second half and I know with marshall or BS we have a shot at this. What’s the status on all our players who are out?

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  16. Not according to Tim Howard. In his interview with Grant Wahl, he made it sound as if Jones fit in well and would be welcomed with open arms.

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  17. I know everyone is waiting for the project 2010 world cup goal of winning. But the 2012 Olympics could have one of the best US teams by age eligibility playing. A realistic goal for a medal

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  18. To think that people are OK with the 70+ minutes of lackluster defensive approach that we put in against the Dutch sickens me. We need a firecracker in the team, so to speak. Someone with a chip on his shoulder, who can spark us defensively, and not in our final third. All the best teams constantly pressure their opposition into making mistakes. Even if JJ can only impact us in the final 30 minutes of a World Cup against the likes of England, then he should be on the plane with the rest of our boys.

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  19. If we put Jones and John O’Brien in central midfield, and start Freddy Adu and Clint Mathis at forward, we’ll be unstoppable.

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  20. If Jones can go for 60 minutes, he will start and Clark and Edu will be subs. Jones is two classes above those two and one class better than Bradley, who will be able to push up slightly more. If Jones can go for 30 minutes, he will sub to add defense to protect a result. Its a no brainer if he is healthy.

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  21. I’d like to see Jones get back because he isn’t just another defensive midfielder. He’ll really help the USA manage the game. Not only can he cover ground, get physical, mark well, and make good tackles, but he’s got a very nice passing eye, good dribbling, and times some excellent runs. He and Bradley in the center of the field would be great for the USA because they each really help the team dictate the pace and play of the game, while being an imposing presence.

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  22. according to tim howard it sounds like jones fit in just fine last week with the team. he speaks english, some our players speak german… it’s not like regis at all. apples and oranges folks.

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  23. The difference between Landon and Jermain is. Landon was in top shape coming off a 1 month vacation from MLS play. JJ hasnt had a competitive game in months and continues to rehab. That kind of stagnation for that long sets you back a long time. Youdneed more than a month of “pre season” type training to get back in shape.

    I also think that unlike League play when youre going to the WC chemistry with your teammates plays a bigger role.

    If you told me JJ was going to be back in action next week, then I will say awesome let try and see what he can do. But right now we dont even know when he will START training. Therefore you cant count on him being there you gotta plan like hes not. And I think if he get healty by like May its not early enough for him. He really needs to be up and at em by the end of this month.

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  24. I couldn’t agree more. His introduction to the U.S. team before the Netherlands match was a calcualted maneuver on the part of Bob Bradley. He doesn’t want the US Soccer community in a tizzy when he places Jones on his World Cup roster.

    I agree that if he is healhty and has got some minutes with Schalke, not only does he travel to South Africa, he plays alongside Michael Bradley.

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  25. For all you guys thinking the Jones addition would bring a little chaos and could be potential unrest in the locker room just go look up the recent SI interview with Tim Howard. He mentions how Jones fit in with the squad in Holland and would be welcomed with open arms. Howard essentially says how the US squad is relaxed and easy to get along with and they would be excited to have him.

    If Jones is healthy (and that’s a big if), he’s going to SA. Not offense to anyone in our player pool but he’s an instant upgrade. I promise you. I have followed the Bundesliga religiously for years and this guy is the real deal. Period.

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  26. What a puzzling injury for Jones. It seems that he still hasn’t made any progress. Speaking of injuries, do you know the status of Clint Dempsey, Ives? I heard reports before that he would be back training by mid March.

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  27. the FULL NT meets a few times a year and even then the line up is always changed due to form and injuries. All Jones needs is 1 month of solid playing to get his match fitness and the pre-WC camp. Thats a realistic goal.

    People forget Donovan’s instant impact with Everton despite basically walking on to the team. He had a few practices and played 75 impactful minutes vs. Arsenal in his first game and the rest is history

    the “team chemestry” crowd are just over analyzing things.

    If he’s healthy he goes to S.A. -FACT

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  28. You guys also have to wonder if Germany win group D and we get second in group C. then were gonna play the germans.

    and who would place a bet that Germany national team reject Jermaine Jones tries to have the game of his life against them with that chip on his shoulder.

    my only fear though with jones is that with MB and him, they are both liable to get red cards, and deep in a WC, that only ends with a tie and going into penalties at best

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  29. We have so much depth at CDM it is extremely unlikely that he beats Clark or Edu to pair with Bradley. If BB is bringing 4 central midfielders, than maybe he can beat Torres to one of those spots, but it’s pretty moot because they’re not going to play.

    If Jones could play Left-Back, then he would make the team no matter what. Too bad he can’t.

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  30. lenherts goals were great. his first, collected with chest and one timed was sick! i hope gbs is able to pull some magic at toluca now.

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  31. That’s absurd. If he’s healthy, he goes. We don’t have anyone with his talent and attitude and it’s sorely needed on this team.

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  32. We have absolutely no idea how Jones will integrate with the National Team on the pitch. That said, if he’s even remotely near full fitness I think you have to take him. Who would you rather have occupying the end of your bench: Ricardo Clark or Jermaine Jones?

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  33. He hasnt played in almost a year, and he supposed to come into the world cup squad and be a contributor over somebody like Edu or Clark?

    I don’t think so.

    If he doesn’t come back to fitness and isn’t playing for Schalke 04 by the end of this season, and he still makes the World Cup squad and a healthy and in form Edu or Clark are dropped in place of him – I would be extremely annoyed and would consider it a injustice.

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  34. goooooo jermaine go. yes there are hundreds of doubters like this guy petaluman but to be frank just the sincerity he puts in to make that world cup squad has such a nice ring to it. the SI article with timmy reaffirms the team’s desire to get jones healthy and ready for the pitch and that as soon as he is back on the field they wouldn’t mind seeing what he can do in a red white and blue penny. we still have over 2 months until the send-off series and that is just a prelim roster. if he gets healthy in the next month or so we can count on bob calling him in prelim to see just how well he does. the news gets better and better. peace be the journey.

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  35. How could Jones possibly make the team? I am pretty sure you can’t do much cardio when you have pain in your knees. How could he be in any kind of shape to play 90 minutes in a World Cup Game? We have other options at DM. It would have been nice to get him on the roster and healthy, but I see little chance of him making any contributions.

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  36. I’m of the opinion that is just too late for Jermaine Jones. He’s talented I don’t think anyone will argue that and would be a good addition to the team. However, if he’s added to the team late in the game I see a serious morale issue a la David Regis. Jones has not battled in the trenches with rest of the guys and although many may not agree I really think that has some importance.

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