LionelMessiBarcelona1-Elche2015 (Getty)

Wednesday Kickoff: Messi offers backing to La Liga strike; Tigres advances in Copa Libertadores; and more

Lionel Messi has offered his support to a potential La Liga strike while Tigres advanced to the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals.

WillPackwoodBristolRovers1 (BristolPost)

Report: Will Packwood to go on trial with Revolution

American centerback Will Packwood is reportedly on his way to begin a trial period with the New England Revolution, before potentially signing prior to the May 12 deadline.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Houston Dynamo

Earthquakes edge Dynamo in Dom Kinnear’s return to Houston

By LEOPOLDO PONCE Dom Kinnear’s first trip to Houston since leaving the Dynamo to take charge of the San Jose Earthquakes featured Kinnear doing something he did plenty of times at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kinnear’s team won. Adam Jahn’s 54th-minute […]

Wednesday Kickoff: Messi offers backing to La Liga strike; Tigres advances in Copa Libertadores; and more

LionelMessiBarcelona1-Elche2015 (Getty)

By RYAN TOLMICH

The Liga Players Union (AFE) remains unhappy following La Liga’s new TV distribution deal, and their willingness to strike appears to be backed by one of the league’s marquee players.

Lionel Messi says that he is aware of the AFE’s desire to strike and supports the position, which would see players miss out on the penultimate round of league games. The strike comes as a result of Spain’s latest TV deal that sees a more even split of revenue, one that the AFE was not involved in.

“That is something which AFE have said to us, they came here for a meeting with us,” Messi said. “The players are with them in what they say.”

Should the players choose to strike, Messi and Barcelona would miss out on a clash with Atletico Madrid on May 17.

Here are some more news and notes to kick off your Wednesday morning: Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer, Featured, Mexican Soccer, South American Soccer | Leave a comment

Report: Will Packwood to go on trial with Revolution

WillPackwoodBristolRovers1 (BristolPost)

By DAN KARELL

Will Packwood’s next destination could be his hometown club.

The Concord, Mass. native is on his way to trial with the New England Revolution, according to a post on Birmingham City FC’s website.

On Tuesday, Birmingham announced that they would be parting ways with Packwood, but on Wednesday they revealed on their own that Packwood’s contract, which was due to run through June 30, has been cancelled with immediate effect so that Packwood could trial with the Revolution and potentially sign a contract with MLS prior to the end of the transfer window on May 12.

The Revolution have yet to provide an official comment on the report.

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, MLS- New England Revolution | 2 Comments

Earthquakes edge Dynamo in Dom Kinnear’s return to Houston

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Houston Dynamo

By LEOPOLDO PONCE

Dom Kinnear’s first trip to Houston since leaving the Dynamo to take charge of the San Jose Earthquakes featured Kinnear doing something he did plenty of times at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Kinnear’s team won.

Adam Jahn’s 54th-minute goal was all the Earthquakes needed to escape Texas with a 1-0 victory and three precious road points on a night when the Dynamo dominated most of the match states. Houston had more shots, completed passes and overall possession, but failed to muster much of a real threat against the Earthquakes defense, which defended well against a steady Dynamo diet of crosses into the penalty area.

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Posted in Featured, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Tevez shines as Juventus take a 2-1 lead to Madrid

FBL-EUR-C1-JUVENTUS-REALMADRID

By COLE KELLOGG

Juventus hadn’t played in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League in a dozen years, but you couldn’t tell on Tuesday.

The Italian champions jumped all over Real Madrid in the early going of their first-leg clash in Turin, and Carlos Tevez helped them capitalize, setting up a first-half Alvaro Morata goal before converting a second-half penalty he helped draw as Juventus posted a 2-1 victory.

Morata opened the scoring against his former club early in the match as he tapped home a hard-driven ball from Carlos Tevez that Iker Casillas could only get finger tips on before it found Morata wide open on the back post.

Just before the half-hour mark, the visitors got on the board through a combination from James Rodriguez and Ronaldo. The Colombian volleyed in a cross from the right side of the box and the Ballon D’Or winner scored the free header from inside six yards. The goal was Ronaldo’s 76th in UEFA Champions League play, the career record.

Juventus had the majority of the  attacking play early on in the first half, with Tevez leading the way against a shaky Real Madrid defense.

Martin Atkinson awarded a penalty to Juventus in the 56th minute of play after Daniel Carvajal fouled Tevez in the penalty area. The Argentine put the resulting penalty past Madrid captain Iker Casillas.

The Italians reverted to a back 3 around the hour mark, replacing Stefano Sturaro with centerback Andrea Barzagli.  Minutes later, Chiellini got horribly bloodied up after taking an elbow to the face. The Italian defender had to come off temporarily for a new uniform.

Three minutes from time, it looked as if Roberto Pereyra would make an immediate impact on the match for Juventus. Fernando Llorente found his way around the Madrid defense and goalkeeper, but his ball to the center of the box couldn’t get to Pereyra.

A Pirlo free kick in stoppage time led to the last real chance of the match. Casillas was positioned well, though, and was able to get to the header from Llorente.

Posted in European Soccer, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

NASL Week Five: The SBI Rewind

Cosmos vs Ottawa0299

Photo by New York Cosmos

By RYAN TOLMICH

The New York Cosmos continued to make pushes this week, both in the standings and in the city of New York.

The Cosmos continue to be class of the league, securing yet another victory in an unfamiliar home in Brooklyn. With a three-point lead atop the standings, the Cosmos have proved to be a force wherever they play, whether it’s at Shuart Stadium, on the road or even under the lights of a historic amusement park.

Hot on the Cosmos’ heels are a series of teams with standout performers leading the way, but one team that continues to struggle is the league’s reigning champions, the San Antonio Scorpions, who look all but doomed in the Spring campaign.

Here are some of SBI’s takeaways from NASL Week 5:

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Posted in NASL | Leave a comment

SBI MLS Goal of the Week: Sebastian Giovinco

GIovinco 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

Bill Steicher/USA Today Sports

Posted in MLS- Toronto FC, SBI MLS Goal of the Week | Leave a comment

MLS Ticker: Nguyen unhappy over Revolution contract situation; Mbolhi rejoins Union; and more

Lee Nguyen New England Revolution 64

photo by Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

The New England Revolution might be on a roll, but not all things are rosy at the club right now.

A Tuesday report from New England Soccer Today stated that 2014 MLS MVP candidate Lee Nguyen is not pleased with the club’s unwillingness to renegotiate his deal and skipped practice last week to make his feelings known. Nguyen, 28, is currently making approximately $175,000 a year, but wants an improved contract after helping the Revolution reach last year’s MLS Cup final with an 18-goal, five-assist campaign.

Currently in the second year of a four-year contract with the Revs, Nguyen reportedly informed the club of his desire for a new contract during the offseason. The Revolution were resistant to the idea after having signed him to an improved deal prior to the 2014 season.

The decision left the veteran midfielder frustrated, and he contemplated skipping training early in the year before actually doing so early last week. Nguyen ultimately returned to practice, but did not start in his usual playmaker role in New England’s 2-1 home win vs. the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

This season, Nguyen has one goal and two assists in eight league appearances (seven starts).

Here are more notes from around MLS:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Montreal Impact, MLS- New England Revolution, MLS- Philadelphia Union | 30 Comments

SBI MLS Spotlight: Benny Feilhaber’s improved fitness allowing him to thrive with Sporting KC

Benny Feilhaber 1 (USA TODAYS Sports)

photo by Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

Two weeks ago, Roger Espinoza teased Benny Feilhaber about his lack of goals. Feilhaber responded in the best of ways, striking twice in the very next game to punctuate a strong month that saw him either score or create more than half of Sporting Kansas City’s goals.

Feilhaber had quite an April, as he directly involved in five of the club’s eight April goals. The veteran midfielder bagged a brace against the Houston Dynamo on April 25, which included a dramatic volley in the 95th minute that gave Kansas City a 4-4 draw, and assisted on three more goals during the course of its three other matches. He also set up numerous other opportunities that were just narrowly missed or mis-hit.

While it was the 30-year-old Feilhaber’s offensive contributions that grabbed plenty of national attention, he also helped his club by doing all of the little things defensively. Feilhaber looked as involved as he’s ever been on that side of the ball, getting stuck in, tracking back and breaking up numerous plays to help win possession for his team.

He looked more like a complete two-way player and less like the offensive-minded playmaker that a few years ago didn’t have the chops defensively, a development he attributes to Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes, as well as improved fitness.

“I used to be a guy that didn’t have the best fitness, and I definitely got tired throughout games,” Feilhaber told SBI last week. “When you get tired you tend to lack in some areas, typically the area that you’re weak at, so that’s always been the defensive side for me.

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, MLS Spotlight, MLS- Sporting Kansas City, SBI MLS Spotlight | 16 Comments