TimHowardUSA1-Belgium2014 (Getty)

Howard named U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year

U.S. Soccer announced Thursday that Tim Howard has been recognized as Male Athlete of the Year.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Rubio Rubin heads back to FC Utrecht after making his U.S. Men’s National Team debut, fullbacks Fabian Johnson and Timmy Chandler could square off, and more in this upcoming weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

The SBI NCAA Tournament Preview

The 2014 NCAA Tournament kicks off today. Here is SBI’s breakdown of the tournament, including players to watch, sleeper picks and predictions.

Sounders hoping to overcome past playoff failures in first leg vs. Galaxy

Evans-USAToday- Sounders

Photo by Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports

 

By RYAN TOLMICH

Entering their clash with the LA Galaxy as the playoffs’ top seed, the Seattle Sounders are also preparing to do battle with the club’s recent postseason history.

The Sounders have developed a reputation for failing in the opening leg of the playoffs’ two-legged format. In 2010, it was an opening game home loss to the Galaxy. In 2011, a 3-0 road thrashing at the hands of Real Salt Lake. In 2012, in what captain Brad Evans described as the most memorable, it was an opening game 3-0 beatdown at the hands of the Galaxy that made the Sounders’ 2-1 second leg victory all the more painful.

“I remember a couple of years ago playing the Galaxy in this game at LA after three days rest against Salt Lake and getting smashed and having to chase at home,” Evans said on Thursday’s conference call with media. “There’s still a bad taste in my mouth and in the back of my head with trying to control this game as much as possible and trying to play our style at the same time. I think finding a good balance, which we’ve done all season, and I think that’s a testament to chemistry.” Continue reading »

Posted in MLS- LA Galaxy, MLS- Seattle Sounders | 9 Comments

Revolution’s fun-loving locker room atmosphere key to their success

Jermaine Jones New England Revolution Happy

Photo by Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports
 

By FRANCO PANIZO

Teal Bunbury was swarmed by about a dozen reporters, answering question after question about his impactful performance. Then, a familiar voice with a distinguishable accent spoke up.

It was that of teammate Jermaine Jones, who had discreetly and comically slipped into the media scrum with his white cell phone in hand to camouflage as a member of the press. Jones began to ask a question – “What do you think…” – until Bunbury realized it was him, and the two immediately shared a good laugh.

That type of playfulness might be expected after seeing your team advance to the Eastern Conference Championship, but it is something that has been part of the fabric of this New England Revolution team all season. The players have truly enjoyed being around one another on the field and in the locker room, and that fun-loving attitude has been just as key to the club’s success as any goal, assist or cleansheet.

“I think that’s really important. Great locker rooms, they laugh together, they cry together and they fight together,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “You’re going to have all those different emotions at times. There’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs, but at times you need to be loose. I think at the right times, we’re loose, and, at critical times, we crank the screws pretty tight.

Continue reading »

Posted in MLS Playoffs, MLS- New England Revolution | Leave a comment

Howard named U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year

TimHowardUSA1-Belgium2014 (Getty)

By RYAN TOLMICH

Tim Howard is currently on international hiatus, but that didn’t prevent the goalkeeper from earning recognition from the U.S. Men’s National Team.

U.S. Soccer announced Thursday that Howard had been named 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, beating out a field that included Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones.

Howard won with 64% of the vote, beating out Jones and Beckerman, who finished in second and third, respectively.

The 35-year-old goalkeeper, who is currently taking  leave of absence from the national team, made eight appearances in 2014, with the most memorable coming in a 16 save performance against Belgium.

With the 2014 award, Howard becomes the fifth player to be recognized as Male Athlete of the Year on multiple occasions, joining defender Marcelo Balboa (1992, 1994), goalkeeper Kasey Keller (1997, 1999 and 2005), forward Landon Donovan (2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010) and Dempsey (2007, 2011 and 2012).

What do you think of Howard’s victory? Who did you think was the USMNT’s best player this year?

Share your thoughts below.

 

Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team, U.S. Soccer | 7 Comments

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Rubio Rubin of FC Utrecht FC Utrecht

By FRANCO PANIZO

A special few days could be made even more so for Rubio Rubin this weekend.

Fresh off of earning his first two caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Rubin will return to club action on Sunday when FC Utretcht host Cambuur Leeuwarden. Utretcht are currently even on points with Cambuur, but one place lower in the Eredivisie standings because of their goal differential. Should Rubin and Utrecht emerge victorious, they would more than likely jump into a UEFA Europa League play-off spot while also moving closer to an automatic place in that competition.

Tigres UANL are also looking to rise in their respective league’s table as Liga MX’s Apertura campaign comes to a close. Toluca visit Tigres in a battle of the second and third-placed clubs on Saturday, and Jose Torres and Herculez Gomez’s side will be keen on winning for a number of reasons. In addition to trying to move up and obtain a higher seed – possibly first – ahead of the start of the Liguilla, Tigres will want to assure themselves of a place in the 2015 Copa Libertadores. Torres and Gomez’s roles in the match are unclear, but they both could see the field given their lengthy experience in Mexico’s top flight.

A pair of Americans who might also see time in the same game, though not alongside one another, are Fabian Johnson and Timmy Chandler. The two veteran fullbacks will look to get back into their club’s respective lineups, as Johnson’s Borussia Moenchengladbach plays hosts to Chandler’s Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Both Johnson and Chandler are coming off lengthy cameos in the U.S.’s lopsided loss to the Republice of Ireland, so there is a chance the end up being utilized as bench players instead of starters.

Here is who the Americans Abroad battle this weekend: Continue reading »

Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | Leave a comment

The SBI NCAA Tournament Preview

LeoStolzUCLA1-2013 (UCLA)

By IVES GALARCEP

The NCAA Tournament kicks off today, with first-round matches across the country as 48 teams vie for the crown currently held by Notre Dame.

There is no clear-cut favorite to win it all, with as many as a half-dozen legitimate title contenders. Teams like Maryland and Stanford are entering the tournament with serious momentum, while teams like Notre Dame and Indiana looking to rebound after slipping in their conference tournaments.

The tournament also boasts plenty of top pro prospects, such as Maryland goalkeeper Zak Steffen and Stanford forward Jordan Morris, as well as UCLA’s Leo Stolz and Georgetown’s Joshua Yaro.

Here is a closer look at how the tournament stacks up, including the schedule, our sleeper picks, players to watch and tournament predictions:

Continue reading »

Posted in College Soccer, Featured, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Report: Man City want to extend Lampard loan deal as cover for Toure

FrankLampardManCity2-Tottenham2014EPL (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

In order to avoid the potential of having only two central midfielders on their roster, Manchester City are looking very strongly into keeping Frank Lampard around for a little bit longer.

According to a report in The Guardian, Man City are again looking into the possibility of extending Lampard’s loan from New York City FC through mid-February, where he would provide cover for Yaya Toure. Toure and the Ivory Coast National Team qualified for the 2015 African Cup of Nations, which begins on Jan. 17 and goes through Feb. 8.

Assuming that Toure would leave for international duty in early January and knowing that Lampard’s current loan is set to expire at the end of 2014, Man City would potentially be left with just Fernando and Fernandinho as senior team central midfielders.

Neither Man City nor NYC FC have commented on this report, and NYC FC have repeatedly stated that Lampard will be coming to New York in January and will take full part in the team’s preseason leading up to their inaugural season in MLS.

———-

What do you think of this report? Do you think it’s just media speculation? Do you see Lampard staying with Man City through February or March?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in European Soccer, Featured, MLS- New York City FC | 15 Comments