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MLS Week 1: A Look Ahead

After quite a busy offseason, the MLS is back, headlined by a series of matchups that feature both newcomers and MLS Cup contenders.

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The SBI Show: Episode 195 (MLS Western Conference Preview, Award Predictions, and more)

Episode 195 of The SBI Show takes a look back at the recently-approved MLS CBA, previews the MLS Western Conference, and shares our MLS award predictions.

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NASL remains focused on Virginia, Oklahoma City while continuing looks into more expansion

Despite delays with both the Virginia Cavalry and Oklahoma City FC, the NASL remains committed to the two franchises while also pursuing expansion in other markets.

Midday ticker: New FIFA ethics chief won’t take orders from Blatter; Van Gaal denies Giggs rift; and more

FIFA's new chief ethics investigator Swiss attorney Borbely speaks during an interview with Reuters in Zurich

By ALAN CONDON

FIFA’s new independent ethics chief Cornel Borbely has stated that he will not take orders from soccer’s governing body after taking over from his predecessor Michael Garcia, who resigned in protest over the handling of his investigation into the controversial 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid processes.

FIFA was heavily criticized after the departure of U.S. lawyer Garcia, and Swiss lawyer Borbely — who has been the acting chairman of the investigatory chamber of the independent ethics committee since December — has said that he will refuse to allow interference with his work.

“I run my own law firm and I don’t take any orders at all from FIFA — none whatsoever,” said Borbely. “I alone decide whether to open, conduct and conclude an investigation and on its result.

“I can’t disclose details of how often I have met with Sepp Blatter, but my contacts with him are limited to purely professional encounters. He has no authority to give directives to me.”

Borbely, who was previously the head of an economic crimes investigation unit in Zurich as well as a prosecutor for a military tribunal, will investigate potential cases regardless of their status within FIFA in an effort to stamp out corruption.

“Every football official is subject to the ethics code,” Borbely added. “Whoever… breaches it will come into our purview, regardless of hierarchy, rank or position.”

Here are some more of Friday afternoon’s news and notes:

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Posted in European Soccer, FIFA | Leave a comment

USWNT continues perfect Algarve Cup run, rolls past Switzerland

Amy Rodriguez goal vs Switzlerland Algarve 2015
Photo by U.S. Soccer

By CAITLIN MURRAY

The U.S. Women’s National Team has made sure the ghosts of last year’s Algarve Cup didn’t linger for long.

With a second victory in the tournament against Switzerland on Friday, a comfortable 3-0 win, the USWNT looks poised to land in the Algarve Cup final and avenge last year’s worst-ever finish at the annual invitational.

Friday’s win saw contributions from veteran names on the squad as Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Alex Morgan scored goals each to lift the Americans to top Group B and tie France on points overall.

Despite a roaring finish, the USWNT struggled early to finish chances, outshooting Switzerland 8-to-1 with nothing to show for it. But the break did some good and the USWNT returned at the half firing on all cylinders.

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Posted in U.S. Women's National Team, Women's Soccer | Leave a comment

Richie Williams lauds strength of U.S. U-17 roster while looking to keep players grounded after impressive CONCACAF start

Josh Perez, Panos Armenakas

By ALAN CONDON

After an impressive start to the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has heaped praised on the strength and versatility of his 20-man roster, but insists they must not get complacent against hosts Honduras in their next challenge.

The U.S. U-17s have won their opening three games in the tournament in impressive style, scoring 11 goals and conceding just one in reply. Their most recent 4-1 victory over Guatemala featured seven changes to the starting 11, reaffirming Williams’ belief in the depth and quality trickling through the entire U.S. U-17 squad.

“We said from the beginning of the tournament when we announced our roster that we felt we had a deep roster, that we trust everybody on the team – all 20 players – when they’re called upon,” Williams said, via U.S. Soccer. “They’ve all played in major international matches over the last two years, so we have confidence in all the players, and they should have confidence when they step on the field. We feel like we can put any of our 20 players on the field and play well and get a good result.”

“Coach always tells us that we’re a really good team, that we’re stacked – not one, but two in every position,” added U.S. U-17 midfielder Eric Calvillo. “We have guys that come off the bench when we need them and do good work, and guys that can start any game. And we saw that today.” Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Soccer, U.S. Under-17 National Team, U.S. Youth National Teams | Tagged | 4 Comments

MLS Week 1: A Look Ahead

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By RYAN TOLMICH

After a busy offseason complete with blockbuster signings and a contentious labor negotiation that narrowly avoided a strike, Major League Soccer is back with a series of marquee matchups to start the 2015 campaign.

Headlining the opening week of the 2015 regular season is a matchup between two newcomers, as Orlando City hosts New York City FC. Pitting Kaka against David Villa, the two sides will play their inaugural MLS game in front of a sold-out crowd in Orlando’s Citrus Bowl.

Meanwhile, a pair of teams that are veterans of success collide Sunday night as the Seattle Sounders take on the New England Revolution. Despite achieving plenty last season, both teams will enter 2015 with a chip on their shoulder after falling just short in last year’s postseason.

In addition, the LA Galaxy open their title defense against the Chicago Fire, the New York Red Bulls take on Sporting KC in a playoff rematch, and Toronto FC takes on Canadian rivals Vancouver Whitecaps.

Here is a rundown of the Week 1 schedule: Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer | 13 Comments

The SBI Show: Episode 195 (MLS Western Conference Preview, Award Predictions, and more)

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By IVES GALARCEP

With the MLS Players Union and league officials agreeing on a new CBA, and a strike being averted, it’s time to continue previewing the 2015 MLS season on the latest episode of The SBI Show.

Episode 195 of The SBI Show looked back at the CBA deal, which left fans excited, but many players unhappy with the deal eventually settled on. We discuss the gains earned by the players, and the risks included in the deal.

Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also provide our Western Conference preview, as we both rank the teams in the West.

SBI senior writer Franco Panizo joins us as we all make our predictions for the 2015 season’s MLS awards and MLS Cup winner.

Give Episode 195 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, Podcasts, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

NASL remains focused on Virginia, Oklahoma City while continuing looks into more expansion

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By RYAN TOLMICH

Entering the league’s fifth season, the NASL is set to field its eleventh team team: the Jacksonville Armada. However, talk surrounding a pair of franchises waiting in the wings has remained quiet in recent months.

The Virginia Cavalry and Oklahoma City FC have been announced by the league as future expansion teams, and both teams had originally announced that they were set to begin play in 2015. However, those plans did not come to pass for a variety of reasons, casting doubt over the team’s immediate future.

In the case of Oklahoma City, issues involving ownership derailed the team’s plans, as one of the partners in the team, Tim McLaughlin, had bought a 50 percent ownership stake in the rival franchise Oklahoma City Energy. For the Cavalry, constant stadium construction issues and ownership reorganizations have caused delay after delay, pushing the team’s debut back to 2016.

NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson admits that things haven’t quite gone to plan with the development of his latest expansion sides, while also making it clear the league plans to keep things close to the vest while ownership is sorted out.

“We haven’t announced any developments because we really don’t want to have to go through what we’ve had to go through again,” Peterson told SBI. “The expansion process is a complicated process, one that we take very seriously. We move cautiously as we go through the process and it can come undone at any point. Unfortunately, with both of those situations, the teams actually announced that they were going to play. Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, NASL | 11 Comments