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Monday Kickoff: FIFA official ‘shocked’ by failed England WC bid; Ronaldinho, Queretaro in crisis; and more

FIFA official Harold Mayne-Nicholls was shocked that England was not named host of the 2018 World Cup.

Brad Guzan Aston Villa 39

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Brad Guzan redeemed himself with a heroic performance, John Brooks came back to earth, and more in this past weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

DeAndre Yedlin Seattle Sounders 22

Report: Yedlin receives work permit ahead of Tottenham move

Seattle Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin has reportedly been granted a work permit and will be able to play for Tottenham as soon as January.

U.S. U-20s take down Honduras ahead of U-20 World Cup qualifying

Romain Gall, Scott Galloway

By DAN KARELL

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team wrapped up their final two friendly matches before World Cup qualifying with a sweep of Honduras on the road.

In the finale on Sunday afternoon, the U.S. U-20s defeated Honduras U-20s, 2-1, following up a 2-1 victory last Thursday in the first of the two friendly matches in San Pedro Sula.

Romain Gall scored for the second match in a row, and his first half strike was followed up by a goal from Lynden Gooch. Devron Garcia scored the lone goal for Honduras U-20 in the defeat.

Head coach Tab Ramos will now organize a domestic-based training camp with the U-20 squad before heading to Jamaica early in 2015 ahead of the CONCACAF U-20 Championships. Ramos will have to select his 20-man squad by Dec. 30.

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What do you think of this result? Like the U.S. U-20s chances heading into U-20 World Cup qualifying?

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Posted in U.S. Soccer, U.S. Under-20 National Team, U.S. Youth National Teams | Leave a comment

Monday Kickoff: FIFA official ‘shocked’ by failed England WC bid; Ronaldinho, Queretaro in crisis; and more

Mayne-Nicholls-England

By RYAN TOLMICH

Many were left stunned by FIFA’s decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia, but one FIFA executive was particularly surprised by the organization’s decision.

FIFA’s Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who was chairman of a group responsible for assessing the feasibility of each World Cup location, concluded that England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup was the strongest of the lot. However, after the nation received just two of 22 votes, Mayne-Nicholls, who previously chaired Chile’s football association, was left shocked.

“(England) was by far the strongest contender,” Mayne-Nicholls said.. “How could England have only got two votes? It was a big surprise.

“England were on the top. They had the best concept, the best infrastructure and the people were very much involved,” said Mayne-Nicholls. “I was there and I saw the faces of Prince William and [David] Beckham, and they were shocked. It’s like when you are a first division team and you play a third division team and you lose by five goals.“

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Monday morning: Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer, Featured, FIFA, FIFA World Cup, Mexican Soccer, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Sunday European Rewind: Liverpool ties Arsenal late; Marseille gains ground in France; and more

LiverpoolCelebrates1-LeicesterCity2014EPL (Getty)

Getty Images

By ADAM TROXTELL

Liverpool owes a morale-boosting result to the head of Martin Skrtel.

Not only did his headed goal give them a 2-2 draw against Arsenal in Sunday’s marquee Premier League match, but an injury to the back of Skrtel’s head resulted in nine minutes of stoppage time. Seven minutes into the added minutes, 10-man Liverpool breathed a sigh of relief.

It’s a wonder they didn’t score more. The Reds put 13 shots on target and produced 27 chances. In contrast, Arsenal were much more efficient with their four chances on goal and used that to maintain a four-point gap between themselves and West Ham in fourth.

After 45 minutes of scoreless soccer, two fell in a minute and a half to end the first half. Philippe Coutinho struck first for Liverpool before Mathieu Debuchy equalized at the other end.

In the 64th minute, a seemingly rejuvenated Santi Cazorla kept a goal chance alive by reaching the end line before Olivier Giroud put away his near-post cross for the lead. Even two yellow cards within two minutes for Fabio Borini couldn’t keep Liverpool down in the end, and they seized potentially crucial momentum ahead of a packed holiday schedule.

In France, Marseille have taken sole possession of first place after a 2-1 win over Lille. Michy Batshuayi scored in the 69th minute for the eventual winner

Inter Milan produced late magic for a 2-2 draw with Lazio, while Atletico Madrid cruised past Athletic Bilbao 4-1 in La Liga.

Here is a look back at all of Sunday’s action from Europe’s top leagues:

Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer | Leave a comment

Red Bulls hire Curtis as sporting director

Ali Curtis #11

By FRANCO PANIZO

The New York Red Bulls’ previous sporting director was well-versed in the European game. Their new one knows about all things on the domestic front.

Sources have informed SBI that the Red Bulls have found the successor for Andy Roxburgh, hiring retired forward Ali Curtis as the club’s sporting director. Curtis, 36, was most recently the senior director of player relations and competition for MLS.

BigAppleSoccer.com first reported the deal, adding that Curtis is on a one-year contract.

Curtis, who has never held a management position for a team, joins a Red Bulls side that saw Roxburgh depart last week after two years at the helm. Curtis will be tasked with trying to improve a roster that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but lost the masterful Thierry Henry to retirement.

A former player who attended Duke, Curtis hung up his cleats for good in 2004. He was drafted three years earlier by the now-defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny, and also went on to play for D.C. United and Dallas Burn.

New York technical director Ricardo Campos and New England Revolution assistant Tom Soehn were some of the other candidates up for the sporting director job, with sources confirming to SBI that Soehn turned down a two-year contract offer for the position, which then led to the Red Bulls hiring Curtis.

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What do you make of Curtis’ appointment? Like the move? What should be his first priority with the Red Bulls?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in MLS- New York Red Bulls | 10 Comments

USWNT closes 2014 by losing Brasilia tournament title

Abby Wambach USWNT by Derik Hamilton USA TODAY
Photo by Derik Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports

By CAITLIN MURRAY

The U.S. Women’s National Team ended their 2014 on a bitter note Sunday, drawing to Brazil to lose their final tournament of the year.

Brazil’s Marta could not match her splendid performance against the Americans a week ago, but the International Tournament of Brasilia hosts did dominate the USWNT and forced a scoreless stalemate, enough to hand Brazil the tournament title on tiebreaker.

The USWNT started in what looked like an experimental lineup — a 4-4-2 with Abby Wambach and Lauren Holiday as the front pair, with Kelley O’Hara, normally a defender, on the right midfield flank. The departure from coach Jill Ellis’ favored 4-3-3 seemed to be targeted at containing Marta, which it did, but the Americans struggled to control the midfield or maintain possession.

The USWNT’s best chance came in the 59th as a long Tobin Heath cross found Wambach on the far post. Wambach’s header had pace and goalkeeper Luciana beat, but sailed just wide. Brazil had a similar failed chance – Monica’s powerful, close-range header off a Marta corner kick was nodded just wide in the 38th minute.

Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Women's National Team, Women's Soccer | 8 Comments

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Brad Guzan Aston Villa 39

By FRANCO PANIZO

Talk about redeeming yourself.

A week after committing an egregious error that led to a loss, Brad Guzan bounced back with a heroic performance that rescued a result for a shorthanded Aston Villa side. Guzan shone brightly in the Villans’ clash with Manchester United on Saturday, making eight saves to thwart the star-studded attack repeatedly and preserve a 1-1 draw. The impressive outing, which came in a game that saw Aston Villa finish with 10 men, pushed Guzan into a tie with Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Robert Green for the Premiership lead in saves (60) this season.

For John Brooks, things went in the other direction. After enjoying a pair of headline-grabbing performances in the past few days, Brooks came back down to earth as he and Hertha Berlin conceded five times in a shutout loss to Hoffenheim on Sunday. If that was not bad enough, Brooks scored a first-half own goal that wound up being the decisive tally and also conceded a penalty kick.

Rubio Rubin had no such struggles. The U.S. Men’s National Team prospect finished 2014 by continuing to impress, assisting on the second goal in FC Utrecht’s 3-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar on Saturday. Rubin got the nod, lasted until the 82nd minute and should’ve had a second assist in the triumph that snapped a two-game losing streak for Utrecht. Meanwhile, compatriot Aron Johannsson went the distance for AZ in the two clubs’ final match before the Eredivisie’s winter break.

Here is how the Americans Abroad did this weekend: Continue reading »

Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 10 Comments