Jones puts emphasis on stopping Henry ahead of East finals

Jermaine Jones made it clear on Saturday that the New England Revolution must contain New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry to win their MLS Eastern Conference Finals series.

Sunday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.  (Photo by Sam Roberts)

Intrastate showdowns headline second round of NCAA Tournament

A plethora of intrastate matches headline the second round of the NCAA Tournament, which kicks off on Sunday.

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Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

Wayne Rooney and Manchester United are looking to give manager Louis Van Gaal and strong performance in his debut match against Arsenal in English Premier League action.

Saturday European Rewind: Man United beats Arsenal, Messi breaks record in Barca rout, and more

Arsenal v Manchester United - Premier League


Manchester United limped into Saturday’s showdown with Arsenal beset by injuries, but survived an early onslaught before handing the Gunners a shock home loss.

Wayne Rooney struck in the 85th minute on a fast break, lobbing substitute goalkeeper Damian Martinez to put the game at The Emirates beyond doubt. Goalkeeper David DeGea helped keep Manchester United from falling behind after a strong start by Arsenal, and the visitors took the lead in the 56th minute on a Kieran Gibbs own goal.

Rooney’s goal stood as the winner after Olivier Giroud’s stoppage-time goal, giving Manchester United a victory that pushed the Red Devils into fourth place in the English Premier League.

In Spain, Lionel Messi broke a 59-year old La Liga scoring record, netting a hat trick in Barcelona’s 5-1 rout of Sevilla. Messi snapped the league goals record long held by former Barcelona striker Telmo Zarra, pushing his career goal-scoring total in La Liga play to 253 goals.

Roma and Juventus remain locked in their battle for the top of Serie A with road wins against Atalanta and Lazio, respectively. In France, Lyon lost some ground in the title race while Bayern Munich still stands alone atop the German Bundesliga.

Here is a rundown of Saturday’s club action in Europe:

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Jones puts emphasis on stopping Henry ahead of East finals


Photos by USA TODAY Sports


HARRISON, N.J. — Winning the midfield battle is important. Keeping tabs on the elusive and clinical Bradley Wright-Phillips is, too.

For Jermaine Jones, however, stopping Thierry Henry is key to it all.

The New England Revolution will get their Eastern Conference Championship series with the New York Red Bulls underway on Sunday afternoon, visiting Red Bull Arena for the first of the two legs that will determine which of the in-form clubs reaches the MLS Cup Final.

Much is being made about how vital it will be for each team to try and boss the center of the park, but Jones is putting more of an onus on stopping Henry, who will likely be deployed on the left flank again.

Henry has always been the the heart of the New York attack since signing with the club in 2010, but the Red Bulls captain has essentially turned back the clock to will his team to this deep playoff run, assisting on four of his side’s five postseason goals.

It is a development that is not lost on Jones, who is plenty familiar with Henry and all the danger he possesses.

“We know a lot of the game of Red Bull is Henry,” Jones said Saturday before the Revolution’s training session at Red Bull Arena. “We need a good teamwork to close him and don’t give him that space. I think when you see a lot of goals from Phillips, the cross always comes from Henry, so if you stop Henry you can say you stop Phillips, too.”

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Posted in Featured, MLS Playoffs, MLS- New England Revolution, MLS- New York Red Bulls | 7 Comments

Intrastate showdowns headline second round of NCAA Tournament

Sunday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.  (Photo by Sam Roberts)

 Photo by Charlotte 49ers Athletics


Sunday’s Second Round of the NCAA Tournament will divide state allegiances.

Out of the 16 matches, six feature intrastate contests. Coastal Carolina visits Clemson, UMBC meets Maryland, San Diego plays UCLA, UC Irvine sees Stanford, Oakland travels to Michigan State and North Carolina challenges Charlotte.

One of the key matchups features two teams who met in the 2011 College Cup final, Charlotte and North Carolina. The Tar Heels finished as champions, so the 49ers would like nothing more than to enact revenge this year. Similarly, in 2012, the Toreros upset the Bruins, 5-2, in the Second Round, making this fixture matter even more to players like UCLA star midfielder Leo Stolz, who played in the 2012 loss.

No. 1 seeded Notre Dame hosts Ohio State, who needed 13 penalty kicks to top Akron. The Fighting Irish were knocked out of the ACC Championship semifinals by Clemson about a week ago, but they have had plenty of time to rest and prepare for Sunday’s showdown.

One second-round match to watch features Syracuse taking on Penn State in a clash featuring two of the country’s best goalkeepers. Syracuse’s Alex Bono and Penn State’s Andrew Wolverton will be playing not only to reach the Round of 16, but also to impress pro scouts trying to figure out which of them has the brightest future.

Here is a rundown of the NCAA Tournament second round schedule (all matches set for Sunday): Continue reading »

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Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

WayneRooneyManUnited2-WestHam (Getty)


Fresh off scoring three goals for England during the international break, Wayne Rooney is ready to take his strong run of form as he takes on one of his club’s rivals.

Rooney and Manchester United are looking to take their unbeaten run against Arsenal to eight games when the two teams meet in North London on Saturday afternoon. Arsenal’s last win against Man United came in May 2011, and the eight-game winless streak includes their 8-2 drubbing three months later.

The main storyline heading into this match is injuries for both sides, with the likes of Daley Blind joining Radamel Falcao, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, and others on the Man United injury list, and Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny will miss out for the Gunners.

Elsewhere in action, English Premier League leaders Chelsea take on West Bromwich Albion, in Spain, Barcelona host Sevilla as Ivan Rakitic takes on his former club, and in Germany, Bayern Munich take on Hoffenheim. The Bavarians have never lost to Hoffenheim in Bundesliga history.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today’s Soccer TV schedule is after the jump):

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, Your Running Commentary | 61 Comments

The SBI Show: Episode 179 (Talking MLS playoffs, recapping the USMNT friendlies, and more)




The MLS Playoff Conference semifinals kickoff on Sunday and the latest episode of The SBI Show has you covered on all the angles.

Episode 179 of The SBI Show takes a closer look at the West finals between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders, as well as the East finals between the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution.

Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss the recent U.S. Men’s National Team friendlies in Europe, including an in-depth look at the awful 4-1 loss to Ireland.

We also discuss topics ranging from MLS expansion to the NCAA tournament.

Give Episode 179 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:

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Posted in Featured, Podcasts, U.S. Men's National Team, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Western Conference Final preview: Sounders and Galaxy clash in star-studded battle

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Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports



Think that the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy have seen a lot of each other recently? Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena sure believes so.

“We know everything about each other and there’s not a whole lot of preparation. We’ve just got to go out and play,” Arena quipped in a conference call with reporters.

When the two teams face off in the Western Conference finals on Sunday evening at the StubHub Center, it will be the club’s third meeting in just six weeks, after finishing the regular season with a home-and-home set to determine the MLS Supporters Shield winner. The Sounders won that outright in the last match of the regular season, but it’s been the Galaxy who have stormed through the MLS Cup Playoffs so far.

Though the Galaxy played Real Salt Lake to a scoreless draw in Rio Tinto Stadium, Landon Donovan and MLS MVP candidate Robbie Keane combined up top to lead the Galaxy to a 5-0 rout of RSL.

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- LA Galaxy, MLS- Seattle Sounders | 23 Comments