Photo by Atlanta Silverbacks
By RYAN TOLMICH
In a league that sees turnover as commonplace, the Atlanta Silverbacks have put together quite the rebuild.
Leading the charge is an MLS Cup-winning head coach in Gary Smith, who takes over a Silverbacks side that finished dead last in last season’s Combined Standings. However, the 2015 side Smith has assembled will look vastly different than last year’s cellar dwellers, with just four players remaining on the roster from the pre-Smith era.
In turn, Smith has retooled the roster in a series of shrewd moves that include the additions of NASL stars Hans Denissen and a returning Matt Horth, MLS veterans Rahsauwan McKenzie and Kyle Porter and experienced international additions like Simon Mensing and Paul Black, ensuring a new-look Silverbacks team.
That new-look team will be looking to write a new chapter for the Silverbacks, one entirely different than that written before their arrival.
Here is a closer look at the 2015 Atlanta Silverbacks: Continue reading
Photo by Mauricio Villarreal/Carolina RailHawks
By AARON CRANFORD
Head coach Colin Clarke is adamant that 2015 can be the year the Carolina RailHawks bring home the coveted NASL championship.
The RailHawks claimed the Woosnam Cup in 2011 and 2013 when they topped the end-of-the-year table with the most points, but the Cary side has not yet lifted the elusive NASL Soccer Bowl Trophy.
After placing fourth in the Spring Championship and fifth in the Fall Championship, the Carolina RailHawks just missed out on 2014 NASL playoffs with a total of 38 points over the two campaigns.
“We didn’t get to the championship game last year,” RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke told SBI in a phone interview, “so that’s obviously our goal is to get back to the championship, and I want to be the first to win a championship here in Carolina.
“It hasn’t happened yet. We’ve been very close over the years, had some good teams, good players, but we just need to take that next step and bring a championship back home.”
Here is a closer look at the 2015 Carolina RailHawks: Continue reading
Photo by Jim O’Connor/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
Having spent the past few weeks talking up the benefits of the team’s high-pressure system, the New York Red Bulls promised they would go into MAPFRE Stadium and press the Columbus Crew into submission, and that is exactly what they did.
The Red Bulls sent out a resounding statement that the club can still compete with the best, toppling the Crew 2-1 Saturday to earn SBI MLS Team of the Week.
On the road against an Eastern Conference contender, the Red Bulls remained confident in their system, despite a less-than-stellar opening half. The visitors emerged for the second stanza rejuvenated, starting with a Bradley Wright-Phillips finish from the penalty spot. Although a finish from the Crew’s Tony Tchani soon followed, the Red Bulls emerged once again through substitute Mike Grella, whose chipped volley proved to be the icing on the cake to top off an impressive Red Bulls performance.
The Red Bulls beat out Sporting KC, Real Salt Lake and Orlando City for this week’s honors.
What did you think of the Red Bulls’ performance? Which team stood out to you in MLS Week 4?
Share your thoughts below.
Photo by David Butler II/USA Today Sports
By MATT STYPULKOSKI
The New England Revolution’s goal drought has finally come to an end thanks to Kelyn Rowe.
After three weeks without finding the net – or winning a match, as a result – Rowe scored both goals in the Revolution’s 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, earning recognition as SBI MLS Player of the Week.
The first tally required a bit of luck and a deflection off the head of Shaun Francis. But the second was more clinical, as Rowe made a run to the near post on a Chris Tierney free kick, then steered Darius Barnes’ wayward header into the back of the net.
The brace earned Rowe SBI’s MLS Player of the Week honors, beating out the Vancouver Whitecaps’ David Ousted, Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales and Sporting Kansas City’s Ike Opara for the award.
What did you think of Rowe’s performance? Which player stood out to you in MLS Week 4?
Share your thoughts below.
By ALAN CONDON
Brazilian center back Adailton opened his account for the Chicago Fire with a goal against the Philaldephia Union on Sunday, earning Frank Yallop’s side its first win of the season, and all without the services of Designated Players Shaun Maloney and David Accam.
Adailton arrived at the Fire in December via Brazilian outfit Esporte Club Bahia, and his impressive defensive display and first half header against the Union has come at a time when the Fire really needed it.
“He’s a solid defender, and that’s what we needed,” Yallop said on a conference call. “A no nonsense guy who heads it away, clears it when he needs to, but can pass out of the back. Obviously he is a little older in his years but he’s very experienced. I’ve been pleased with his play. He’s a good kid, he works hard and he listens, and he’s a great teammate.” Continue reading
Photo by Robert Mayer/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
Plagued by second-half troubles since last year’s World Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team sorely needs to find some answers if it is to head into the summer with restored confidence.
Its next chance to do so comes on Tuesday.
The U.S. has conceded 14 times in the second halves of 11 games dating back to last summer’s World Cup, but will have an opportunity to correct that ugly trend when it closes out its March camp with a friendly in Zurich against Switzerland. The Americans are coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss to Denmark in which they conceded twice in the final seven minutes, putting the pressure on them to bounce back in one of their last tuneups as a complete U.S. squad before this summer’s Gold Cup.
A benefit for Jurgen Klinsmman’s side is that Switzerland, which is coming off a 3-0 win over Estonia in Euro 2016 qualifying, will likely be counting on some new faces at Stadion Letzigrund. Regulars like Valon Behram and Sheridan Shaqiri could be rested in favor of some lesser experienced but still talented players who will be trying to impress head coach Vladimir Petkovic.
By IVES GALARCEP
The SBI Show has reached its latest landmark, with the 200th episode featuring a good mix of guests to discuss the latest in the American soccer world.
Episode 200 of The SBI Show features interviews with Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara, Minnesota United head coach Manny Lagos, and ESPN FC writer Doug McIntyre.
Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I catch up with Opara and discuss Sporting KC’s big win at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, as well as his strong start to the 2015 season. We then head out to Minnesota to catch up with Lagos and discuss, among other things, the recent awarding of an MLS expansion franchise to the owners of Minnesota United and the upcoming 2015 NASL season.
We also catch up with Doug McIntyre in Zurich to preview the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming friendly against Switzerland.
Give Episode 200 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:
By AARON CRANFORD
Club Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough is wanting and fighting to be a regular call-in with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Coming off the heels of Club America defender Ventura Alvarado expressing his happiness and commitment to the USMNT, Yarbrough told U.S. Soccer that he is working day in, day out in order to show head coach Jurgen Klinsmann that he wants to be a part of the USMNT picture moving forward.
“I like living day-by-day and doing my best every day,” Yarbrough said. “Right now, I’m just looking to give coach Klinsmann and the rest of the teammates a good impression of myself. I want them to know that I’m a person who’s going to give everything on and off the field, who truly shows passion and a commitment to the meaning of representing the United States.”