Jesse Marsch New York Red Bulls 15

Jesse Marsch expecting passionate, energetic first match against NYCFC

New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch does not consider the upcoming game against New York City FC a rivalry, but he does see it as the start of one.

Messi leads late Barcelona romp over Bayern in UCL semifinal opener

Leo Messi helped Barcelona score three late goals en route to picking up a 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

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Report: Sebastian Lletget to sign with LA Galaxy

The LA Galaxy are reportedly set to acquire American midfielder Sebastian Lletget from West Ham on a free transfer.

Jesse Marsch expecting passionate, energetic first match against NYCFC

Jesse Marsch New York Red Bulls 15

photo by Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

NEW YORK — For Jesse Marsch, this isn’t a rivalry. This is the start of one.

The New York Red Bulls will welcome cross-town rivals and expansion club New York City FC to Red Bull Arena on Sunday for the historic first meeting between the two sides. Some are already labeling the encounter a rivalry given the close proximity of the two clubs and the bad blood shared by both their fanbases, but Marsch is reluctant to give it such a distinction.

The Red Bulls head coach thinks there has to be history behind a rivalry, which there clearly isn’t right now when it comes to these two New York clubs. But Marsch also believes that this inaugural encounter will have the type of immediate energy and passion that could set the tone for what’s to come.

“In these kinds of games, it’s just (about going) into the game understanding that the game takes a while to settle down,” Marsch told SBI. “There’s a lot of emotion, it’s edgy to start, so you have to understand how to start the game, what the mentality is and then know that as the game goes on that whichever team is able to put their imprint on the game in their way is going to slowly manage to take over.

“There’s also liable to have momentum changes, crazy things happen, and that’s the way derbies go, so I think you have to be prepared for just about anything and everything.”

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Posted in Featured, MLS- New York City FC, MLS- New York Red Bulls | Leave a comment

Messi leads late Barcelona romp over Bayern in UCL semifinal opener

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By COLE KELLOGG

For 76 minutes, Bayern Munich looked like escaping the Camp Nou with a draw might be possible. Manuel Neuer was making stunning saves and Bayern’s defense was holding up well against the might of Barcelona’s attack.

Then Lionel Messi happened, and by the end of the match, Bayern’s once-promising chances in the UEFA Champions League semifinals had turned into victim on life support.Messi scored twice and assisted on a third goal late to lead Barcelona past Bayern Munich, 3-0, on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola did not enjoy the homecoming he would have been hoping for as Bayern Munich could not weather the storm at Camp Nou. It was a night full of entertaining, attacking soccer. Guardiola’s side seemed to have found its stride after surviving 20 minutes of Barcelona dominance, but the Catalans were too strong in the end.

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Report: Sebastian Lletget to sign with LA Galaxy

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By RYAN TOLMICH

In pursuit of some midfield depth, the LA Galaxy are reportedly set to acquire a young American midfielder to provide some additional firepower.

Goal USA reported Wednesday that the Galaxy are on the verge of acquiring 22-year-old midfielder Sebastian Lletget, who will join the club on a free transfer from West Ham. The Galaxy will send roughly $50,000 in allocation money to the New England Revolution, who previously put in a discovery claim on the midfielder, the report states.

The Galaxy have reportedly been negotiating with the San Francisco, Calif.-native for months. Lletget has been a part of the West Ham system for the past five years, making one senior appearance in an FA Cup match while also making the bench a handful of times for league contests.

Lletget would join fellow Premier League import Steven Gerrard as midseason acquisitions for the Galaxy, as the Liverpool midfielder will join the club at the conclusion of the Premier League campaign.

What do you think of a potential Lletget signing? How would he fit in with the Galaxy? What impact would you expect the midfielder to make in both the short and long-term?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, MLS- LA Galaxy | 45 Comments

Looking at the best in MLS through the first quarter of 2015

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Photo by USA TODAY Sports

By IVES GALARCEP

It may not seem like it, but we have already seen one quarter of the 2015 MLS season go by. If you feel like it has flown by, you are not alone.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Orlando City was making its MLS debut in front of a packed Citrus Bowl, but yes, we have watched the weeks fly by. The early going was a bit sloppy, and light on goals, but things have begun to pick up in recent weeks as some of the league’s top teams have begun to hit their stride.

With one fourth of the season already in the books, I decided to take a look at the best performers through the first quarter of 2015. In my latest piece for Goal.com, I gave my picks for the top league awards, and selected a Best XI for the first quarter of the season.

Here is some more insight into the picks, including the toughest decisions:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer | 7 Comments

SBI Reader Poll: Which New York team has more pressure heading into Sunday’s first meeting?

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By FRANCO PANIZO

As if bragging rights were not a big enough of an incentive, both of MLS’s New York teams will have plenty more to fight for when the meet for the very first time this weekend.

The New York Red Bulls and New York City FC are set for their inaugural match against one another on Sunday at Red Bull Arena, and both clubs will eagerly be gunning for three points after some less-than-stellar results in recent weeks.

The Red Bulls are on a three-game winless run that most recently saw them suffer their first defeat of the season at the hands of the New England Revolution, while NYCFC has gone seven straight games without picking up maximum points to fall to eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

While those numbers might seem to point at the expansion club as being the team with more pressure going into this game, the Red Bulls will be playing in front of their home crowd. That will certainly be a benefit, but it also puts the onus on them to pick up the victory. Anything less could trigger an angry response from a fanbase that is still being won over following some offseason controversy.

With all that, which team do you think has more pressure going into Sunday’s showdown?

Vote in the poll after the jump:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- New York City FC, MLS- New York Red Bulls, SBI Reader Poll | 10 Comments

MLS Ticker: M’Bolhi likely to start for Union; Zizzo sidelined by broken leg; and more

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Photo by Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

Rais M’Bolhi rejoined the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday, and now it looks likely that the Algerian goalkeeper will regain his starting role for the time being.

M’Bolhi is likely to start Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps after both Andre Blake and John McCarthy suffered separate training injuries in Tuesday’s practice. Blake reportedly injured the opposite knee than the one that has kept him sidelined to start the season.

The Algerian goalkeeper started the first five games for the Union this season before being replaced by McCarthy.

M’Bolhi trained in full with the team on Tuesday after previously spending time away from the club following his benching.

Here are more of Wednesday afternoon’s MLS news and notes: Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Colorado Rapids, MLS- New York City FC, MLS- New York Red Bulls, MLS- Orlando City, MLS- Philadelphia Union, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps | 4 Comments

The SBI Show: Episode 204 (Recapping MLS Week 9, talking CCL, and more)

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By IVES GALARCEP

The cream has begun to rise to the top of the MLS standings, as we watched the Seattle Sounders and New England Revolution dispose of their New York opponents in a pair of MLS Week Nine’s headlining matches.

Episode 204 of The SBI Show looks back at a weekend with several intriguing matches, including Seattle’s thrashing of NYCFC and the Revs’ victory against a short-handed New York Red Bulls side that suffered its first loss of the season.

Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also look back at the CONCACAF Champions League finals, and Montreal’s improbable run. We also dive into whether MLS is doing enough to really compete on the international stage.

Give Episode 204 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:

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

SBI MLS Spotlight: Benny Feilhaber’s improved fitness allowing him to thrive with Sporting KC

Benny Feilhaber 1 (USA TODAYS Sports)

photo by Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

Two weeks ago, Roger Espinoza teased Benny Feilhaber about his lack of goals. Feilhaber responded in the best of ways, striking twice in the very next game to punctuate a strong month that saw him either score or create more than half of Sporting Kansas City’s goals.

Feilhaber had quite an April, as he directly involved in five of the club’s eight April goals. The veteran midfielder bagged a brace against the Houston Dynamo on April 25, which included a dramatic volley in the 95th minute that gave Kansas City a 4-4 draw, and assisted on three more goals during the course of its three other matches. He also set up numerous other opportunities that were just narrowly missed or mis-hit.

While it was the 30-year-old Feilhaber’s offensive contributions that grabbed plenty of national attention, he also helped his club by doing all of the little things defensively. Feilhaber looked as involved as he’s ever been on that side of the ball, getting stuck in, tracking back and breaking up numerous plays to help win possession for his team.

He looked more like a complete two-way player and less like the offensive-minded playmaker that a few years ago didn’t have the chops defensively, a development he attributes to Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes, as well as improved fitness.

“I used to be a guy that didn’t have the best fitness, and I definitely got tired throughout games,” Feilhaber told SBI last week. “When you get tired you tend to lack in some areas, typically the area that you’re weak at, so that’s always been the defensive side for me.

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Posted in Featured, MLS Spotlight, MLS- Sporting Kansas City, SBI MLS Spotlight | 22 Comments