Photo by Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
The holiday weekend provided plenty of changes in MLS, as several teams picked up major upsets to shuffle up the MLS Power Rankings.
Headlining the week’s upset parade was an unlikely candidate, as the shorthanded Seattle Sounders did just enough to squeak past D.C. United. Elsewhere, Western Conference cellardwellers Colorado Rapids defeated a Supporters’ Shield candidate in the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Meanwhile, both the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers continued their respective hot streaks, while FC Dallas served up a statement with a thrashing of the New England Revolution to assert the West’s dominance over the MLS landscape.
Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 18, as voted on by SBI’s editorial staff:
By DAN KARELL
Two years after seeing the U.S. Men’s National Team claim its fifth trophy, the 2015 Gold Cup kicks off Tuesday night with a spot in the Confederation’s Cup up for grabs.
Entering as reigning champions, the Americans could secure an automatic berth into the Confederations Cup with a Gold Cup title, but standing in their way will be a tough group of contenders that could easily disrupt head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s plans.
Once again leading the charge is Mexico, which despite some key injuries, enter the Gold Cup with a roster that might just be the most formidable in the region. Meanwhile, even a shorthanded Costa Rica team could pose major threats on the heels of a World Cup run, while typical contenders Honduras, Panama and El Salvador each boast strong teams that could make noise in the group stages in beyond.
Here is a closer look at the field for the 2015 Gold Cup below: Continue reading
By DAN KARELL
Freddy Adu’s latest career roll of the dice has come up short once again.
After a little more than three months under contract with Finnish side Kuopion Palloseura (KuPS), Adu has asked for his release, with both the club and Adu confirming on Tuesday that he has left the club. Adu played just five times for KuPS in the Veikkausliiga, with three starts. He failed to score a goal.
“He will pursue new challenges, and he is not available anymore for the Ilves match,” KuPS head coach Marko Rajamäki told Finnish newspaper Savon Sanomat. “I wish good luck to him. He is just a great personality.”
The five first-team matches Adu took part in were in April and May, after which he was relegated to the club’s reserve team, which plays in the fourth division of Finnish soccer.
Adu left a message on his Twitter account confirming the move, saying, “I have decided to exercise my option in my contract to leave KuPS this summer to pursue other opportunities. I thank the club and my teammates for welcoming me and making me a part of the team and I wish the team good luck for the remainder of the season and in the future.”
By DAN KARELL
Manchester United has been quiet in the transfer market so far this summer, but manager Louis Van Gaal is reportedly ready to make a big splash.
According to reports in Germany, Man United has approached Bayern Munich over the transfer of Thomas Müller. Some reports claim that Man United would offer €82 million in exchange for the World Cup champion, while others state that there will be a transfer fee plus Angel Di Maria heading to Bavaria.
Regardless of the price, Man United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward reportedly met recently with Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Müller and Bayern manager Pep Guardiola got into a heated argument during Bayern’s first day of preseason training on Monday, but according to reports in Munich, the pair were back on good terms at training on Tuesday.
Here are some more stories to kick off your Tuesday: Continue reading
Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports
By DAN KARELL
The 2015 Women’s World Cup final didn’t just break records on the field. It also broke records on the TV screen.
According to Nielsen, the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 5-2 rout of Japan on FOX earned an overnight metered market household rating/share of 15.2/27. Per SI.com, the game averaged 25.4 million viewers over the course of the evening, during the 7-9 p.m. ET time slot.
From 8:45 to 9 p.m., as the USWNT drew closer to ending its 16-year World Cup drought, the TV viewership peaked with an 18.3/31.
To put it in perspective, the Women’s World Cup final had more viewers than the U.S. Men’s National Team’s match vs. Portugal last summer (18.7 million on ESPN and 24.7 combined with Univision’s viewership), the 2011 Women’s World Cup Final (13.46 million), Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals (23.3 million on ABC) and even Game Seven of the 2014 World Series (23.5 million on FOX).
The Nielsen numbers don’t take into account the thousands of fans who watched online or at sports bars across the country.
What do you think of this development? Impressed with the support for the USWNT from across the country? Do you see this number being broken at the Olympics next year?
Share your thoughts below.
Photo by Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
Barring a surprise of epic proportions or unfortunate injury, Michael Bradley will achieve yet another milestone in his accomplished career on Tuesday. One that only 15 other U.S. Men’s National Team players have ever accomplished.
Bradley is set to become the latest American to earn 100 caps on Tuesday as he leads the U.S. into its Gold Cup opener against Honduras. The significance of the match at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, will likely not allow for much celebration, but that is probably the way the no-nonsense Bradley probably prefers it.
Even so, the game will serve as a reminder of just how far the 27-year-old midfielder has come since earning his first cap for the U.S. back in May 2006. Bradley has not only become arguably the best player in the pool, but is now the de facto leader after being named captain last week by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. His presence, on and off the field, has been and continues to be vital to the Americans’ success
Still, the path to the century mark has not been easy for Bradley. While he became a regular contributor for the U.S. in 2007, he did so under repeated claims of nepotism from media and fans. Bradley’s father, Bob, was the head coach of the U.S. when the promising youngster began to break in, but many on the outside saw the bushy-haired prospect as undeserving and emphatically stated as much.
photo by Jim Brown/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
The scoreline may have been complimentary, but the performance was far from flattering.
The U.S. Men’s National Team played its final tuneup before the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup last Friday, picking up a 4-0 victory over Guatemala at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. The blowout scoreline indicated that the U.S. cruised to victory, but head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his players confessed in the aftermath that improvements needed to be made.
It is hard to argue otherwise. Whether it was in possession, in the final third, or defensively, the Americans were far from sharp against Guatemala, especially in the first half. A better opponent would have punished the U.S. given some of the quality looks in front of goal that the Guatemalans had, and the Americans know that it must avoid repeating that if they are to be kings of the region again this summer.
That said, it was not all bad vs. Guatemala. Some players were real bright spots with their individual performances, and there were also other positives for the Americans to build on as they gear up for Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener against a tougher Honduras side.
Here is what SBI is mulling over after the U.S.’s 4-0 rout of Guatemala: