EdenHazardChelsea1-WestHamUnited2014Nolan (Getty)

Boxing Day 2014: Your Running Commentary

A pair of London derbies headline the return of live soccer, as Chelsea take on West Ham United and Arsenal face Queens Park Rangers in Boxing Day action.

FernandoTorresChelsea1-UCLAtleticoMadrid2014 (Getty)

Friday Kickoff: Torres close to Atletico return; Ronaldinho set to report to training; and more

Fernando Torres is reportedly set to rejoin boyhood club Atletico Madrid on a loan deal.

JozyAltidoreSunderland2-CarlisleUnited (Getty)

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Jozy Altidore will attempt to get another start for Sunderland during a busy two-game weekend, Tim Howard in line to play twice, and more in this upcoming weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

Boxing Day 2014: Your Running Commentary

EdenHazardChelsea1-WestHamUnited2014Nolan (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

A pair of London derbies headline a return to action in the English Premier League on a stacked Boxing Day schedule.

Chelsea attempt to remain atop the league’s standings when they host West Ham United to kick off the day’s action. West Ham and Sam Allardyce have defied expectations and are fourth-place in the table, and are proving their worth on a regular basis. Chelsea though seem a team that are the favorites to win this year’s title and will be tough to defeat at Stamford Bridge.

A surging Manchester United take on Newcastle United in the next round of matches in the day. Newcastle have lost two consecutive matches and have slid down to ninth-place, and are in need of another morale-boosting victory at Old Trafford. Second-place Manchester City visit Alan Irvine and West Bromwich Albion, who have just 17 points from 17 games.

The afternoon finishes up with Arsenal hosting South London’s Queens Park Rangers. Arsenal sit just four points out of fourth place and have won three of their last five games, though they’re still missing a number of starters including Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, and Theo Walcott.

Here’s a look at this year’s Boxing Day schedule:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | 33 Comments

Friday Kickoff: Torres close to Atletico return; Ronaldinho set to report to training; and more

FernandoTorresChelsea1-UCLAtleticoMadrid2014 (Getty)

By RYAN TOLMICH

Fernando Torres is set to try to reignite his career back where it all started.

The Spanish forward is reportedly close to a return to boyhood club Atletico Madrid, where the 30-year-old spent his youth days and first six years of his career.

Torres has spent the final months of 2014 with AC Milan, but has scored just one goal. The forward is now reportedly set to return to Madrid next week after the club agreed with Chelsea to take Torres on-loan until his contract expires in 2016.

Alessio Cerci is set to head to Milan as part of the deal, which will also see Torres  take a major paycut.

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Friday morning:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, International Soccer, Mexican Soccer | 1 Comment

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

JozyAltidoreSunderland2-CarlisleUnited (Getty)

By FRANCO PANIZO

If you’re a big fan of English soccer, Santa Claus has brought quite the present.

A bevy of soccer will be played throughout England this weekend, making up most of the action over the next few days. Jozy Altidore and Sunderland are among the parties involve, as they play twice in three days with games vs. Hull City on Friday and at Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa on Sunday. Altidore will be looking to break back into the Black Cats’ lineup for the third time this season, and should have a good chance to do so given the short turnaround between the matches.

While Altidore attempts to earn another start, Tim Howard is line for two more. Howard and Everton host Geoff Cameron and Stoke City in a Friday battle of Americans before paying a visit to Newcastle United on Sunday. The Toffees have tasted victory just once in their last five league games, so they will be keen on trying to add to their win total in order to break back into the top half of the table.

The majority of the weekend’s tilts might take place in England, but some games will also be played in Belgium’s Pro League. Anderlecht welcome Westerlo in one of those matches on Friday, and Sacha Kljestan will be attempting to make his way back into the former’s starting eleven. Kljestan has been seeing more time as of late, but hasn’t been penciled into Anderlecht’s lineup since Dec. 6 and has just four starts in league play this season.

Here is who the Americans Abroad battle this weekend: Continue reading »

Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 2 Comments

The best American soccer moments in 2014

Brooks Johnson vs Ghana

 

By IVES GALARCEP

As the year winds down to a close, it is time to look back and reminisce on the moments that will live long in the memories of American soccer fans.

My latest Goal USA feature took a look at the top moments, events and performances of 2014 in American soccer. The ones that will be remembered long after the year is over, and the ones that had the greatest impact on American soccer fans. It wasn’t an easy list to whittle down to five, and I’m sure everybody’s list will be a little different based on their own personal allegiances, but one thing we can agree on is that there were some moments and events this year that we won’t soon forget.

I settled on a top five for the story, but there were obviously so many more moments that could have made the list. Here are just some of the other events/moments/performances that could have made the cut, and may have made your cut:

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Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team, U.S. Soccer | 6 Comments

Merry Christmas from SBI Soccer

Christmas Santa SBI

By IVES GALARCEP

Hello everybody. I want to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you SBI readers out there. We hope you enjoy some time off, quality family time and a few peeks at SBI in between your unwrapping of presents and celebrating.

We will have a few presents for you in terms of posts today to help quench your thirst for soccer so keep an eye out for those, and feel free to throw some story suggestions our way today as we make our way through a third straight day without soccer to watch (the good news is soccer is on the way on Friday courtesy of the Premier League’s Boxing Day schedule).

Thank you for making SBI part of your Christmas tradition. For those of you who have been around with us for a while, you might know that this is the eighth straight year of our Merry Christmas post, with the familiar Santa playing soccer image. That image has come to symbolize not only the holiday, but also another year of SBI in the books.

The new year is fast approaching, and we at SBI are already working on some fun things for the New Year, but if you find  yourself bored today be sure to check out Episode 183 of The SBI Show and the first SBI 2015 MLS Draft Big Board, which both dropped on Monday.

On behalf of the entire staff at SBI, thank you for making us a part of your soccer world and please enjoy this special time of year.

Posted in Featured | 19 Comments

The SBI 2014 MLS Draft Big Board (Version 1.0)

CyleLarin (UConn)

By IVES GALARCEP

The 2015 MLS Draft is just three weeks away and once the holiday season is behind us, teams will start preparing to head down to Florida for the MLS Combine as they search for the players to select in what is shaping up to be a better draft than 2014.

The 2015 MLS Draft lacks top-end talent, the kind of can’t-miss targets of years past, but there is squad depth in this year’s draft, and positional strength at left back and central defender, two positions plenty of MLS teams can use help at.

The SBI MLS Draft Big Board is our attempt to project where the year’s incoming college talent will go in the MLS Draft. We come up with the Big Board via a formula that takes into account our own observations along with input from coaches and scouts from the college and professional ranks. The Big Board is very much a work in progress, and as the draft class evolves, the board evolves with it, right up until the day before the draft, when we reveal our final big board and MLS Mock Draft. (You can find last year’s initial Big Board here, and our final 2014 Big Board here).

Every draft class is headed by the Generation adidas class, which is very much in limbo this time around. Sources have told SBI that MLS plans on having a very small Generation adidas class, between three and four players. That number could group, but all signs point to the GA class being a small one.

With that in mind, we have only listed four GA players on our initial Big Board (none have signed a Generation adidas deal yet). One player who could be added is Michigan State midfielder Jay Chapman, who is a top-three talent, but who MLS has initially identified as a Toronto FC homegrown player. This designation is still in dispute though, and if Chapman does have the TFC homegrown tag removed, then he will almost certainly be a top Generation adidas signing, and a top two player on the SBI Big Board.

Now, without further ado, here is the SBI MLS Draft Big Board, Version 1.0:

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Posted in College Soccer, Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS Draft 2015, Uncategorized | 23 Comments