Leave it to Abby Wambach to step away from international soccer with a bang.
The U.S. national team legend, who scored more goals (184) than any man or woman in history, didn’t score in her final match against China on Wednesday night. But she did make headlines all over the world by saying she would fix the U.S. men’s team by firing coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Wambach appeared on a podcast with Bill Simmons, and when he asked her: “If you could fix one thing about that team, what would it be?’’ Wambach replied:
“Oh, man … I would definitely fire Jurgen. Sorry, Sunil [Gulati]. Sorry, U.S. soccer. But I don’t think Jurgen and this litmus test on him has worked. He hasn’t really focused, I feel, enough attention on the youth programs. Although he says he has, I don’t think that he has.’’
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She then criticized Klinsmann for including Germany-born and raised American citizens to his roster.
“The way that he has brought in a bunch of these foreign guys is not something I believe in wholeheartedly, she said. “I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe in it in my heart.
“And I love Jermaine Jones, I love watching him play, and I love Fabian Johnson, and he plays in Germany and is actually killing it right now. … But I just think that this experiment that U.S. Soccer has given Jurgen isn’t one that personally I’m into.’’
Former U.S. national team forward Eric Wynalda, now a TV commentator, took exception to Wambach’s comments about foreign-born players.
“When Abby Wambach went there with the foreign route, that struck a nerve with a lot of people,’’ Wynalda said. “That’s going against the very fabric of what our nation is. The United States is a collection of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and you have got to embrace it. That should be a massive advantage to us, not a hindrance.
“But I don’t think that’s what she meant to say. I think she’s going for patriotism, and Landon Donovan had some very similar comments on my SiriusXM show about having players on the team like Jermaine Jones and Fabian Johnson. [Donovan] used the word “development,” and that’s the real underlying problem here … that we are not doing a good enough job of developing talent, so people like Landon who have invested their entire lives, that didn’t go to Europe, stayed stateside and wanted to build something. That’s their own personal frustration with the fact that maybe not enough talent has come out of this country.”
▪ Miami FC signs Palacios: Miami FC, the new NASL team that begins play in 2016, signed Dane Richards, Jaime Chavez and Wilson Palacios.
“We are proud to have these three players on board who have so much skill and talent to offer,’’ Miami Alessandro Nesta said. “I’m looking forward to working with them as we kick off the season.’’
Palacios, 31, played for Honduras in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. He has played 82 matches with the national team and also played for Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspurs in the English Premier League.
Richards is a 31-year-old Jamaican international and played for the NASL Indy Eleven. He helped Jamaica to back-to-back Caribbean Championship titles in 2008 and 2010, scoring three goals and winning the tournament’s Golden Boot in 2010.
Chavez is a 28-year-old Californian who played with the Atlanta Silverbacks. Another player announcement is expected Monday, and word is it is a player who two years ago scored 20 goals in one of Europe’s top five leagues.
▪ Four Colombian teams to FIU: Fans of Colombian soccer don’t have to leave South Florida to see four of their top teams. A pair of doubleheaders being dubbed Los Clasicos, featuring Cali, Medellin, Nacional and America, will be played Jan. 13 and Jan. 16 at FIU Stadium.
“The flag of Colombia will be raised high in the city of Miami and we are sure that our fans in America will live two days of a lot of excitement,’’ said Reynaldo Rueda, Atletico Nacional coach. “Never before has Colombian soccer taken four of its best teams to compete in a tournament of this magnitude.’’
On Jan. 13, Cali plays Medellin at 6 p.m, and Atletico Nacional plays America at 9 p.m. Three days later, it’s Atletico Nacional vs. Medellin at 4 p.m., and America vs. Cali at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at www.losclasicos.futbol
Mexico vs. Senegal at Marlins Park: The Mexican national team is playing Senegal in a friendly Feb. 10 at Marlins Park. Mexico will use the game as preparation for its series against Canada in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, Senegal is preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The game will mark the U.S. tour debut of Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. Osorio is 2-0 since taking over the Mexican national team in mid-October, with both wins coming in the most recent World Cup qualifying matches in November. Tickets are available at Marlins.com/soccer.
EPL: Leicester City (35), Arsenal (33), Manchester City (32), Manchester United (29), Tottenham (26).
La Liga: Barcelona and Atletico Madrid (35), Real Madrid (30), Celta Vigo (28), Villarreal (27)
Serie A: Inter (36), Fiorentina and Napoli (32), Juventus (30), Roma (29)
Bundesliga: Bayern Munich (43), Dortmund (38), Hertha Berlin (29), Wolfsburg and Monchengladbach (26)
Ligue 1: PSG (48), Angers and Monaco (31), Caen (30), Nice (26)
On the Tube
Sunday: Watford vs. Liverpool (8:30 a.m., NBCSN), Real Madrid vs. Rayo Vallecano (10 a.m., BeINSport USA), Swansea vs. West Ham (11 a.m., NBCSN), Club World Cup Sanfrecca Hiroshima vs. Guangzhou (2 p.m., FS1), River Plate vs. Barcelona (5:30 p.m., FS1).