The SBI NCAA Tournament Preview

The 2014 NCAA Tournament kicks off today. Here is SBI’s breakdown of the tournament, including players to watch, sleeper picks and predictions.

Evans-USAToday- Sounders

Sounders hoping to overcome past playoff failures in first leg vs. Galaxy

Despite previous playoff failings, the Sounders are hoping to finally perform in an opening leg Sunday against the LA Galaxy.

MLSMVPFinalists

MLS announces finalists for 2014 awards

Robbie Keane, Obafemi Martins and Lee Nguyen have been nominated for MLS’ Most Valuable Player.

The SBI NCAA Tournament Preview

LeoStolzUCLA1-2013 (UCLA)

By IVES GALARCEP

The NCAA Tournament kicks off today, with first-round matches across the country as 48 teams vie for the crown currently held by Notre Dame.

There is no clear-cut favorite to win it all, with as many as a half-dozen legitimate title contenders. Teams like Maryland and Stanford are entering the tournament with serious momentum, while teams like Notre Dame and Indiana looking to rebound after slipping in their conference tournaments.

The tournament also boasts plenty of top pro prospects, such as Maryland goalkeeper Zak Steffen and Stanford forward Jordan Morris, as well as UCLA’s Leo Stolz and Georgetown’s Joshua Yaro.

Here is a closer look at how the tournament stacks up, including the schedule, our sleeper picks, players to watch and tournament predictions:

Continue reading »

Posted in College Soccer, Featured, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sounders hoping to overcome past playoff failures in first leg vs. Galaxy

Evans-USAToday- Sounders

Photo by Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports

 

By RYAN TOLMICH

Entering their clash with the LA Galaxy as the playoffs’ top seed, the Seattle Sounders are also preparing to do battle with the club’s recent postseason history.

The Sounders have developed a reputation for failing in the opening leg of the playoffs’ two-legged format. In 2010, it was an opening game home loss to the Galaxy. In 2011, a 3-0 road thrashing at the hands of Real Salt Lake. In 2012, in what captain Brad Evans described as the most memorable, it was an opening game 3-0 beatdown at the hands of the Galaxy that made the Sounders’ 2-1 second leg victory all the more painful.

“I remember a couple of years ago playing the Galaxy in this game at LA after three days rest against Salt Lake and getting smashed and having to chase at home,” Evans said on Thursday’s conference call with media. “There’s still a bad taste in my mouth and in the back of my head with trying to control this game as much as possible and trying to play our style at the same time. I think finding a good balance, which we’ve done all season, and I think that’s a testament to chemistry.” Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, MLS- LA Galaxy, MLS- Seattle Sounders | 2 Comments

Report: Man City want to extend Lampard loan deal as cover for Toure

FrankLampardManCity2-Tottenham2014EPL (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

In order to avoid the potential of having only two central midfielders on their roster, Manchester City are looking very strongly into keeping Frank Lampard around for a little bit longer.

According to a report in The Guardian, Man City are again looking into the possibility of extending Lampard’s loan from New York City FC through mid-February, where he would provide cover for Yaya Toure. Toure and the Ivory Coast National Team qualified for the 2015 African Cup of Nations, which begins on Jan. 17 and goes through Feb. 8.

Assuming that Toure would leave for international duty in early January and knowing that Lampard’s current loan is set to expire at the end of 2014, Man City would potentially be left with just Fernando and Fernandinho as senior team central midfielders.

Neither Man City nor NYC FC have commented on this report, and NYC FC have repeatedly stated that Lampard will be coming to New York in January and will take full part in the team’s preseason leading up to their inaugural season in MLS.

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What do you think of this report? Do you think it’s just media speculation? Do you see Lampard staying with Man City through February or March?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in European Soccer, MLS- New York City FC | 10 Comments

MLS announces finalists for 2014 awards

MLSMVPFinalists

 
 

By RYAN TOLMICH

MLS announced the finalists for its 2014 awards Thursday, highlighted by a trio of Most Valuable Player candidates that are set to take the field in this weekend’s conference finals.

LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Martins and New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nugyen were named finalists for MVP, which will be presented on Dec. 3. Notably absent is another forward set to feature this week, the New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips, who tied a league record with 27 goals this season.

In addition to Martins’ nomination, the Sounders also see head coach Sigi Schmid earn recognition with a nomination for this season’s Coach of the Year. Schmid is joined by The Columbus Crew’s Gregg Berhalter and D.C. United’s Ben Olsen as this season’s nominees.

Have a look at the nominees for the rest of 2014′s MLS awards below: Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer | 15 Comments

Toronto FC become 6th MLS franchise to own USL Pro team

TorontoFC Logo

By RYAN TOLMICH

Toronto FC are set to become the sixth MLS team to expand into USL Pro.

In an announcement Monday, TFC said that the club had successfully acquired the rights to a USL Pro franchise, joining the LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, Montreal Impact and Real Salt Lake as MLS franchises owning clubs in the third-tier league.

The club also revealed that the new side will be coached by Jason Bent, who has worked as an assistant with the first team and academy since joining the club in 2008.

“First and foremost we must thank (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) for the continued support and commitment to Toronto FC,” Bent said. “I’d also like to thank the front office for the opportunity to continue my development as a coach. I feel this pathway will help us bridge the gap between the academy and first team level and enable some talented young men, especially Canadian players, to really learn their trade and develop into legitimate first team players.”

The addition is set to be USL Pro’s 11th expansion side heading into the 2015 season, as Toronto joins clubs in Austin, Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Louisville, Montreal, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis and Tulsa as the league’s newest teams.

What do you think of the continued USL Pro expansions? How many MLS teams do you see moving into USL Pro?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in MLS- Toronto FC, USL Pro | 23 Comments

Ireland 4, USA 1: SBI Player Grades

Republic of Ireland v USA - International Friendly

Photo by Getty Images

 

By IVES GALARCEP

It was supposed to be a match to help finish the year on a positive note, but there wasn’t much positive to take away from the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 4-1 drubbing against Ireland.

The Irish dominated most of the match, and the number of good performances by the Americans weren’t enough to offer even a slim amount of consolation. Defensive mistakes, midfield turnovers in bunches and missed chances by the team’s forwards made the match the kind of disaster that even the ever-positive Jurgen Klinsmann couldn’t spin into some sort of consolation.

As lopsided as the match was, there were a few bright spots for the Americans, such as the play of Alejandro Bedoya, the continued impressive form of Greg Garza, and the debut of Jordan Morris.

Here is a rundown of how the U.S. players flared individually against Ireland:

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team | 43 Comments