By RYAN TOLMICH
While MLS beckons in either 2017 or 2018, 2015 is all about one thing for Minnesota United: establishing the club as a dominant force in the NASL.
Minnesota United enters 2015 having run rampant through the 2014 regular season, claiming the top spot in last year’s Spring season while finishing as runners-up in the Fall to claim the Woosnam Cup, awarded to the regular season champions. However, that regular season success proved to be all for naught, as the team fell to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the playoff semi-finals by way of penalty kicks
On the backs of young superstars Miguel Ibarra and Christian Ramirez, Minnesota United is once again set to contend with a team that, on paper, appears to have even more talent than last season’s edition.
With MLS veterans Johnny Steele and Kalif Alhassan, as well as international additions Ibson and Sammy N’Djock, head coach Manny Lagos now wields a lineup as strong as any in the league, one that has ambitions of the club’s second championship.
Here’s a closer look at the 2015 Minnesota United. Continue reading
By ALAN CONDON
Liverpool will refuse to sell its most promising young talent Raheem Sterling this summer, despite contract negotiations dragging on since the start of October with no new deal in sight.
Liverpool head coach Brendan Rodgers has reaffirmed his intention to keep the youngster at Anfield, and will not consider a deal to sell him in the summer transfer window, with a number of clubs reported to be eyeing up a move.
Sterling’s current contract keeps him at Anfield until 2017 and talks to extend his stay until 2020 have been put on hold until the end of the season.
The 20-year-old was reportedly offered a contract of 100,000 pounds ($148,500) per week, a significant upgrade on his 35,000-pound wage. But Sterling reportedly wants 150,000 pounds per week which would put him among the top earners at the club.
Rodgers has repeatedly stated that he believes Liverpool can best develop Sterling, but the Reds feel no pressure to sell the winger and are determined not to pay him more than they feel he is worth.
Here are some more news and notes for your Tuesday afternoon:
Photo by Logan Bowles/FC Edmonton
By AARON CRANFORD
FC Edmonton had a rough start to the 2014 season, winning only two matches out of nine in the Spring Championship.
But the Eddies exploded onto the scene in the Fall Championship and almost qualified for the 2014 Soccer Bowl with an impressive 3rd place finish in the Fall table, winning eight games and drawing five.
The turnaround has everyone in Edmonton, including head coach Colin Miller, excited to see the momentum carry into 2015. With their first match of the 2015 NASL Spring Championship Saturday against newcomer Jacksonville Armada FC, Miller said he wants to see his side come out of the gates blazing, showing the league that they are ready to be one of the top teams year in, year out.
“I inherited a club, a team that was drastically on the decline,” Colin Miller told SBI in a phone interview, “and I think over the last couple of seasons, we’ve managed to turn that around and change the mindset of the club to the point where we’re very, very well-respected within the league.
“That’s what I’m looking for. It’s to continue to developing into a team that is a genuine contender for championship places.”
Here is a closer look at FC Edmonton in 2015: Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
Some old and new players were mixed into the fold for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team this month, but it came at a price.
The U.S. U-20s finished their recent camp in England this past weekend with a pair of 2-1 losses, falling to both Tottenham Hotspur’s U-21 team and England’s U-20 side in a span of three days. The first defeat came in a closed-door match on Friday at Tottenham Hotspur’s Training Center in London, and the second occurred in a rainy friendly played in front of 11,406 fans at Home Park in Plymouth.
Lynden Gooch scored the goal in the defeat to Spurs, and Maki Tall netted in his debut vs. England.
U.S. head coach Tab Ramos used the two games and entire camp to get closer looks at some of the players who took part in February’s successful World Cup qualifying campaign. Several others who did not participate also got the opportunity to prove their worth, including newcomers Tall and Desevio Payne.
By FRANCO PANIZO
The U.S. Men’s National Team was on the way to an impressive victory, but a moment of frustration and indiscipline from one its most experienced players opened the door for some more second-half struggles.
A Jozy Altidore red card for dissent in the 68th minute left the Americans down a man, paving the way for a late Switzerland equalizer in an eventual 1-1 tie in Zurich. Brek Shea had opened the scoring for the Americans with a gorgeous free kick just before the end of the first half, but Altidore’s red card helped the Swiss pull level 10 minutes before the final whistle.
Valentin Stocker pushed home the equalizer at Stadion Letzigrund following a corner kick from the left, scoring the eighth goal the U.S. has surrendered in the final 10 minutes of their last eight games. The U.S. now has just one win in those matches.