By MIKE GRAMAJO
ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City may have not gotten the final $30 million in state funding for its downtown soccer stadium, but found a way to spearhead its efforts going into the future.
Orlando City announced on Friday that it will privately finance its downtown stadium, and increase the seating capacity to 25-28,000 to accommodate the high demand. The initial plans were to build a 19,500-seat venue that would belong the city, but the expansion MLS club will now own and operate the stadium privately.
“Orlando is an incredible market for professional soccer and attendance at our matches clearly demonstrates that demand,” Orlando City majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said in a statement. “Before deciding to invest in Orlando City, I researched several markets around the country for professional soccer, but Orlando became the ideal location because of the fan base and the city’s leadership.”
Photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
The East and West are set to collide in MLS Week 13, which includes a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup finale.
While both teams have struggled in recent weeks, the New England Revolution have a chance to snag a tiny bit of revenge for last year’s loss to the LA Galaxy with a rematch at Gillette Stadium.
Meanwhile across the country, the Seattle Sounders, this year’s Western Conference leaders, face off with an Eastern Conference contender in the New York Red Bulls, who will be looking to emerge from a rough patch of their own.
Elsewhere, Toronto FC hosts the San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting KC takes on FC Dallas and D.C. United looks for revenge against the Philadelphia Union.
Here’s a closer look at all of this weekend’s MLS action: Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
Tab Ramos has touted the current U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team as the most experienced and talented one that he has ever coached, but now the Americans will have to live up to the hype and deliver in order to prove they are deserving of such superlatives.
The U.S. Under-20s will begin their much-anticipated World Cup campaign on Saturday morning (12:01 am ET, Fox Sports 1) with a match against relatively unknown Myanmar. The Americans enter the showdown at Northland Events Center as the favorites, but that’s a role they are expected to carry throughout the opening rounds of the competition after also being paired with New Zealand and Ukraine in a favorable Group A.
Apart from having landed a kinder draw, this group of U.S. U-20s is also much more seasoned than the one that went three and out in Turkey two years ago. Players like captain Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht) and Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) have begun to break through at the club level, making for increased expectations and pressure in this World Cup.
The Americans are aware of that, and of the fact that failing to get out of the group will be deemed as a huge failure. Still, the U.S. is not thinking that far ahead. The sole focus right now is on starting the tournament with a win.
“Our goal right now is to beat Myanmar the first game, so if we can get the three points the first game then the next challenge will come along,” Ramos said earlier this month. “One of the things that the team knows – and it’s no secret because I think every team in the world will tell you – that the team that we have can beat any team in any one given day.
Photo by Minnesota United FC/NASL
By COLE KELLOGG
With a win vs. second-placed Minnesota United FC, the New York Cosmos could clinch the NASL Spring Season title Saturday.
The rest of the league will be looking to redeem themselves from midweek US Open Cup losses. Wednesday night was an embarrassing one for the majority of NASL sides, with seven losing out to USL teams in the third round of the US Open Cup. The only two sides to progress were the Cosmos and the Atlanta Silverbacks, who played competition from much lower on the American soccer pyramid.
The Canadian NASL teams will square off Friday night for the third time in a month, with FC Edmonton smashing Ottawa 6-2 over two legs in the Canadian Championships.
Here is what this weekend’s NASL action looks like:
By AYDIN REYHAN
With four of the top five leagues already concluded, this weekend presents a swansong of European action with a series of cup finals.
The FA Cup, Copa del Rey, DFB Pokal and Coupe de France will each be decided this weekend in the last bit of action in their respective countries before the 2015-16 campaign.
Meanwhile, the Serie A comes to a close this weekend with Juventus as champions, marking official end of every top-five league in Europe for the 2014-2015 domestic season.
Here’s a closer look at all of the cup action throughout Europe this weekend: Continue reading
Photo by Orange County Blues FC/NASL
By COLE KELLOGG
This week in USL gives us a a number of games with one team in each half of the table.
Overall last place team FC Montreal will face off against against their first place counterpart the Rochester Rhinos.
In a similar battle in the Western Conference, the last place Real Monarchs with fight Sacramento Republic FC, who are just a point out of first place.
Portland and Tulsa will play to try and work their way into a playoff spot in the West, while Colorado will try to leapfrog LA II with a victory on the road.
Here is a closer look at this weekend’s USL action:
By FRANCO PANIZO
The Under-20 World Cup is about to begin, and so too are the tough decisions for Tab Ramos.
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is set to open a World Cup campaign that is filled with lofty expectations on Saturday morning (12:01 am ET, Fox Sports 1), taking on a relatively unknown team in Myanmar at Northland Events Center in Whangarei. The Americans are expected to control the run of play in the Group A match, but U.S. head coach Ramos will need to figure out what pieces best fit together in order for the possession to translate into production and ultimately three points.
Ramos has indicated that he plans to move the U.S. to a 4-4-2 diamond formation for the World Cup in New Zealand, but the wealth of options that he has at his disposal will surely make it difficult to settle on a starting eleven. Choosing players for the midfield and forward spots will be especially tough given the loaded and healthy stable he has to pick from, a stable that includes Emerson Hyndman, Gedion Zelalem and Joel Sonora.
Who will start against Myanmar? Here is the lineup SBI thinks Ramos could deploy: