By DAN KARELL
Sacramento Republic added another building block that they hope will separate them from the rest of the pack in the race for an MLS expansion spot.
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson revealed during his State of the City address on Thursday that San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York will be investing in Sacramento Republic, as they continue their aggressive push to move to MLS. The news comes a day after Sacramento Kings ownership agreed to invest in the club.
“In an effort to ensure our proposal was too good to be true in the eyes of the MLS commissioner and board of governors, we sought to bring in a partner that would endeavor to give us that project experience and a premier franchise that was second to none,” Johnson said in his address.
“I am pumped beyond belief, to announce today that in the spirit of regionalism, the newest investor to the Sacramento Republic who will join our efforts to secure Major League Soccer in Sacramento, is none other than the San Francisco 49ers owner.”
By FRANCO PANIZO
The German Bundesliga returns from its winter break this weekend, and Fabian Johnson is surely hoping that it is the start of a better half-season for him.
Johnson was limited to mostly spot duty off the bench during the opening months of the season, but will now aim to break into the lineup more regularly as Borussia Moenchengladbach attempts to move into a guaranteed UEFA Champions League spot. That starts on Saturday for Johnson and his club, as they visit struggling Stuttgart. Johnson and Moenchengladbach are just a point off of third place in the table, so win could push them into that position if Bayer Leverkusen is unable to grab maximum points in its game.
Paul Arriola is also looking to get back into the mix this weekend, but not because he’s been on a brief vacation. Arriola has been away from Club Tijuana during the opening weeks of the Liga MX campaign because of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s World Cup qualifying tournament, and he will now attempt to crack the Xolos’ lineup when they take on Morelia on Friday night. Arriola finished the U.S.’s successful qualifying campaign with a goal and an assist in the last two games, so that momentum could carry over as he tries to earn a regular role again at the club level.
Another youngster and potential U.S. U-20 World Cup player trying to see a steadier dose of minutes in the coming months is Julian Green. Hamburg has seldom used the teenage loanee, but that could begin to change as the club attempts to further distance itself from the relegation zone in Saturday’s clash with Cologne. Green has just five appearances thus far this season, a number that will need to increase exponentially in order for him to have a real case for playing at the U-20 World Cup or Gold Cup this summer.
Here is who the Americans Abroad battle this weekend: Continue reading
By ADAM TROXTELL
Chelsea striker Diego Costa is determined to start against Manchester City on Saturday by fighting his impending ban.
Costa was charged by the FA on Wednesday for allegedly stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can during their League Cup semifinal match, and a ban could keep him off the field for the weekend’s top of the table clash. He will plead his innocence to a charge of violent conduct, and Chelsea will reportedly support him to avoid a potential three-match ban.
Manager Jose Mourinho did not speak at length about at least two incidents involving Costa after the Liverpool match, and he may not be heard from for a while longer. Chelsea canceled their pre-match press conference scheduled ahead of the Manchester City match.
“If I speak, the FA will punish me as they always do, so I think it’s better for you to do it,” Mourinho told reporters after the Liverpool match.
Mourinho was fined by the FA earlier this week for alleging that their was a campaign against his club after their game against Southampton.
Here are more news and notes from Europe:
By ADAM TROXTELL
Chelsea hosts Manchester City with English Premier League in a battle of Premier League title hopefuls, a weekend packed with televised soccer.
The recent talk ahead of the one vs. two matchup is concentrated on who will not be on the pitch come Saturday. Man City will be missing Yaya Toure and new signing Wilfried Bony, who are still with Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations.
The Blues might also have personnel concerns since Diego Costa now faces suspension for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can during their League Cup semifinal on Tuesday. The FA could now suspend the striker for the matchup, which could have title implications in the long run.
Elsewhere, the Bundesliga is back with its own top of the table clash. Second-placed Wolfsburg hosts first place Bayern Munich to start the second half of the season on Friday. Borussia Dortmund’s task of climbing out of the relegation zone contains a difficult start with a trip to third-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
A full Saturday evening of Liga MX starts with America facing Tigres. First placed Veracruz, one of two teams to go unbeaten in their first three games, travels to Monterrey.
An African Cup of Nations quarterfinal between Ghana and Guinea highlights Sunday afternoon’s action.
Here is a full look at this weekend’s soccer on TV (schedule after the jump):
By RYAN TOLMICH
After nearly a year of inactivity, Juan Agudelo is set to return to the field by joining the club that he most recently said goodbye to.
Goal USA reported Thursday that Agudelo has signed a deal to return to the New England Revolution, for whom the 22-year-old forward played for in 2013. Agudelo has reportedly signed a four-year non-Designated Player deal worth roughly $400,000 a year.
Agudelo will now rejoin the Revolution on a contract worth less than the one previously offered when the forward departed MLS for a move to the Premier League’s Stoke City. Agudelo’s England move was repeatedly derailed by work permit issues, and he hasn’t featured since playing on loan for FC Utrecht last spring.
He reportedly turned down a recent contract offer from Bundesliga 2 side 1860 Munich, opting instead for an MLS return.
Agudelo, who started his career in 2010 with the New York Red Bulls, scored seven goals in 14 games for the Revolution in 2013. On the international level, the forward has earned 18 international caps and scored twice.
What do you think of Agudelo’s decision to rejoin the Revolution? How much do you think he is regretting his decision to not initially stick with New England? What do you expect from him this season?
Share your thoughts below.
By RYAN TOLMICH
Emerson Hyndman was a standout for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s World Cup qualifying campaign, but the success did not come without a major setback.
Goal USA reported Thursday that Hyndman will likely miss up to six weeks after suffering a broken collarbone late in the U.S.’s victory over El Salvador last week.
The 18-year-old could be sidelined until April, which would give the Fulham midfielder roughly a month to prepare for May’s Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand. The U.S. U-20’s are planning to hold a camp in March.
Hyndman, who has made nine appearances for Fulham this season, was arguably the U.S.’s strongest player throughout the CONCACAF U-20 Championships. The FC Dallas academy product’s play has reportedly drawn the interest of clubs in Germany and Spain, including La Liga’s Elche.
What do you think of Hyndman’s injury? How will it affect his immediate future on both the club and international level?
Share your thoughts below.