Luis Robles New York Red Bulls 96

Luis Robles: Union still fighting for ‘some form of free agency’ despite MLS owners’ refusal to consider it

New York Red Bulls goalkeeper and MLS Players Union rep Luis Robles has reiterated the need for free agency to be part of the CBA equation if the 2015 season is to start on time.

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Ashton Gotz on the fast track in recruitment for USMNT

Fullback Ashton Gotz is being put on the fast track to join the U.S. Men’s National Team thanks to help from the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Dynamo Preview Collage

SBI MLS Season Preview: Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo have a new coach, and some new anchors in defense and eventually at forward. Here is a closer look at the 2015 Dynamo.

CONCACAF U-17 Championship: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Preview

ChristianPulisic-USU17MNT-2014England (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Two years ago, with high hopes and expectations, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team were shocked by Honduras U-17s in a must-win match, eliminating the U.S. from the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Now two years later, with another team loaded with talent from front to back, the U.S. are hoping to right those wrongs and earn a place in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile later this year.

As luck would have it, the U.S. will have to face Honduras again at this year’s version of the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship, which is being held in Honduras and begins on Friday. The tournament is playing under a new format though, like we saw at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, meaning that the margin for error is slightly larger for the U.S. squad.

The U.S., featuring the likes of Joe Gallardo, Haji Wright, and Christian Pulisic, will kick off the tournament against Cuba on Friday before facing Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Honduras, and Jamaica in group stage matches. If the U.S. wins their group, they’ll qualify automatically for the World Cup. If they finish second or third, they’ll be able to play in a “crossover” game, with the winner moving on to the World Cup.

Here’s a closer look at the U.S. U-17s squad, schedule, and a preview of what to expect:

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Posted in CONCACAF, U.S. Under-17 National Team | 7 Comments

The SBI Show: Episode 193 (CONCACAF Champions League, MLS labor talks, and more)

BenOlsen

 By IVES GALARCEP

The CONCACAF Champions League has long been a source of disappointment for Major League Soccer teams, and that same familiar storyline played out again on Thursday in Costa Rica with D.C. United’s destruction at the hands of Alajuelense.

Episode 193 of The SBI Show takes a look back at D.C. United’s 5-2 loss to the Costa Rican side, and digs into the continued issues MLS has with succeeding in CCL play. We also discuss Montreal’s impressive 2-2 tie with Pachuca.

Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss the MLS labor talks, and the likelihood of a strike, which is growing by the day as the two sides reach an apparent stalemate over free agency.

Give Episode 193 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:

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Posted in CONCACAF Champions League, Major League Soccer, Podcasts, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

This Weekend’s Soccer On TV

DidierDrogbaChelsea1-Tottenham2014EPL (Getty)

By ADAM TROXTELL

Chelsea’s clash with Tottenham in the English League Cup Final highlights a busy Sunday of soccer on TV.

It’s a rematch of the 2008 final, one that Blues fans will want to forget after London-rivals Spurs came back to win 2-1. That was Tottenham’s first, and so far only, trophy after a nine year drought.

Prior to that game, in-form Liverpool hosts second-place Manchester City as both clubs chase down teams ahead of them in the standings. The Reds are trying to keep pace with Southampton, Arsenal and Manchester United in the race for UEFA Champions League spots, while Manchester City can cut the deficit at the top of the table to just two points with a victory Sunday. Man United hosts Sunderland on Saturday, and the Gunners face Everton on Sunday.

Similar clashes take place in Spain on Sunday, with fifth-place Sevilla playing third-place Atletico Madrid. First place holders Real Madrid host sixth place Villarreal, who is currently six points behind Valencia in the final Champions League spot.

In Mexico, Tijuana will try to maintain its spot at the top of Liga MX on Friday night with a win against Pachuca. Xolos took first place away from Cruz Azul, who will try to take advantage of any slip ups against Toluca on Sunday.

Here is this weekend’s soccer on TV (schedule after the jump):

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Posted in European Soccer, Soccer on TV | 5 Comments

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Greg Garza (USA Today)

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

Club Tijuana has gone 11 straight games across all competitions without tasting defeat, and will likely need to extend that streak to 12 if it wishes to keep its stranglehold on the top spot in Liga MX.

With Club America and Cruz Azul hot on their tails, the Xolos will be aiming to pick up maximum points at home when they host Pachuca on Friday night. Greg Garza should fill in at his regular starting spot for a Tijuana side that has not lost since the Clausura season opener, and will try to help his defense post a third straight league cleansheet against a Pachuca attack that has scored five goals in its last two games. The Xolos lead America and Cruz Azul by just two points in the standings, so anything less than a win could see them end up tied on points for the league lead after the weekend.

While Garza and Corona are hoping to earn another victory this weekend, Tim Ream will look to get back on the field. Ream sustained a back injury in Bolton Wanderers’ game last Saturday, and missed the club’s midweek clash with Middlesborough as a result. If Ream returns to the fold this Saturday, he will attempt to help Bolton snap a three-game losing streak against a Brighton & Hove Albion team that is just above it in the Championship standings.

Another player in one of Europe’s second divisions that could use a win is Alfredo Morales. The 24-year-old Morales and 2. Bundesliga leaders Ingolstadt have hit a minor bump in their season after failing to win either of their past two matches, but will try and get back on track in Monday’s home game against 1860 Munich on Monday. Ingolstadt is six points clear of second place, but will still want to come out victorious as it attempts to move one step closer to gaining automatic promotion.

Here is who the Americans Abroad tango with this weekend:

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Posted in Americans Abroad | 1 Comment

MLS Ticker: Atlanta surpasses 19,000 season tickets; PRO announces referee assignments; and more

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta MLS Owner Arthur Blank, and Georgia World Congress Center Executive Director Frank Poe

By AARON CRANFORD

Atlanta won’t enter Major League Soccer for another two years, but fans are showing their excitement in a big way.

In a discussion with Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, Don Garber announced that Atlanta’s expansion franchise, set to enter the league in 2017, has surpassed 19,000 season ticket deposits sold.

In Aug. 2014, MLS Atlanta owner Arthur Blank said roughly 14,000 season tickets were sold, but with today’s update, less than 6,000 available season tickets are up for grabs before Georgia’s franchise kicks off in in two years.

In comparison, New York City FC announced Thursday that they had sold more than 14,000 season tickets for their inaugural MLS season in 2015.

Here are more notes from around MLS: Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Atlanta, MLS- Montreal Impact, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes | 1 Comment

European Weekend Preview: Liverpool meets Man City; Dortmund hosts Schalke, and more

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By AYDIN REYHAN

After suffering losses in midweek European action, Liverpool and Manchester City can give their domestic campaigns a boost when they face off in Premier League play.

The reigning Premier League winners and runners-up collide Sunday, as Manchester City looks to rebound from a loss to Barcelona while Liverpool is fresh off Europa League elimination at the hands of Besiktas.

A victory by Liverpool could potentially lift the Reds into the top four, while Manchester City can close the gap atop the table to two points with a victory and Chelsea loss.

In other action, Borussia Dortmund welcomes Schalke in the Revierderby, Real Madrid looks to extend their lead in La Liga when they host Villarreal, and Roma hosts Juventus in a battle between Serie A’s top sides.

Here is a deeper look at the action in the top leagues this weekend: Continue reading »

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