Michael Berrios 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 21

FC Dallas continues to set the tone out West, topping this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings.

Ethan Finlay 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

All-Star Game inclusion latest step in Ethan Finlay’s remarkable turnaround

Ethan Finlay has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround during the past year-and-a-half, and his MLS All-Star Game inclusion is just the latest reminder of that.

Jul 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; MLS Homegrown Players midfielder Tommy Thompson (22) controls the ball against Club America U-20s during the first half of the Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game in advance of the 2015 MLS All Star Game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Club America rallies to defeat Donovan-led MLS Homegrowns on penalty kicks

Tommy Thompson scored the first goal in MLS Homegrown Game history, but Club America’s U-20s ruined Landon Donovan’s coaching debut with a penalty kick win.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 21

Michael Berrios 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

Photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

While several of the Western Conference’s biggest contenders faltered, FC Dallas made a major statement to remain atop the table.

Throttling the Portland Timbers, 4-1, FC Dallas has asserted itself as the West’s best team, while the LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City fell to disappointing setbacks in the forms of momentum-halting defeats.

In the East, D.C. United put together a masterful comeback to break the hearts of the Union, while the Columbus Crew, Toronto FC and New York City FC continue to score goals in bunches while trying to establish themselves as legit contenders.

Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 21, as voted on by SBI’s editorial staff:

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All-Star Game inclusion latest step in Ethan Finlay’s remarkable turnaround

Ethan Finlay 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

photo by Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Ethan Finlay struggled to fall asleep on Sunday. That night, Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter called Finlay to let him know he had made the MLS All-Star Game roster.

Finlay was left speechless and also extremely excited. It was a surreal a moment for him, but one that also served as a reminder of how far he had come in the past year and a half thanks to hard work and a necessary change in mentality.

Since the start of 2014, few players in MLS, if any, have made the kind of drastic improvements that Finlay has. The 24-year-old midfielder has gone from being a limited player who came off the bench and provided little to the attack to an every-game starter who consistently finds ways to make an impact.

Finlay’s turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. His first two seasons in MLS  saw him fail to score or assist in 34 appearances. The two seasons since have yielded a much more gratifying return, with Finlay netting 18 goals and assisting on 19 others.

The introduction of Berhalter as Crew head coach in 2014 played a part in that turnaround, but was not the only factor.

“I think a switch kind of turned in me,” Finlay told SBI. “When your back is up against the wall as I felt like I kind of was I made a decision that I’ve got to pick it up. This is on me. The onus is on me.  I took that literally and made a great opportunity for myself and I’m thankful for Gregg and the staff for giving me the opportunity and I’ve tried to run with it.”

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Posted in Featured, MLS All-Star Game, MLS- Columbus Crew | 5 Comments

Club America rallies to defeat Donovan-led MLS Homegrowns on penalty kicks

photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Landon Donovan might have been an exceptional penalty-kick taker in his career, but it is that part of the game that got his coaching career off to a losing start.

Club America’s Under-20s won the second MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday night, defeating the Donovan-led MLS Homegrowns, 6-5, on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw through 90 minutes. The shootout at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park went to seven rounds, but Anthony Jackson-Hamel missed on the Homegrowns’ final attempt.

Tommy Thompson scored the first goal in the history of the event in the first half, but the MLS side could not hold on. Tyler Turner conceded a penalty kick in the 67th minute for a push inside the penalty area, and Sergio Rodriguez capitalized on the opportunity by slotting in the ensuing spot kick a minute later.

Club America nearly won it before the end of regulation. Substitute Homegrowns goalkeeper Matt Lampson got just enough of the ball to push a 76th-minute shot off the post, and Victor Rodriguez fired a stinging shot from the right side of the penalty area two minutes before the final whistle that just went wide.

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS All-Star Game | 15 Comments

DeAndre Yedlin unsure whether he will stay with Tottenham this season

photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — DeAndre Yedlin will play for Tottenham in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game. Whether or not he does so in the upcoming Premiership season has yet to be determined.

Yedlin is entering his first full season with Spurs after making the move from the Seattle Sounders last winter. Questions and speculation persist about whether he will go on loan, or stay with Tottenham and battle for playing time at right back, where the team has strong options.

The speedy fullback was limited to just a single appearance of 11 minutes during his first five months with Tottenham, and his role for the upcoming season is unclear with Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier on the roster.

There have been rumors in recent weeks about Yedlin potentially going out on loan in order to have a better shot at earning minutes, but the 22-year-old U.S. Men’s National Team player is uncertain as to what the future will hold.

“I’m not sure about the plan ahead for next season,” said Yedlin ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with the MLS All-Stars. “I’m still waiting on that, but right now, just focused on this game and the rest of preseason.”

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, MLS All-Star Game | 35 Comments

Miguel Herrera out as Mexico head coach, offers apology after airport scuffle

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By DAN KARELL

Miguel Herrera was fired on Tuesday as the Mexican National Team head coach, less than 24 hours after reports that he had punched a journalist in Philadelphia and two days after winning the 2015 Gold Cup.

Mexican FA president Decio De Maria confirmed the news in a press conference this afternoon, telling reporters that Herrera’s violent actions had no place in Mexican society.

“Violence does not fit in society, family and much less in any sport,” De Maria said at the press conference. “Nobody who wants to impose with aggression and not with ideas and concepts on the principle of freedom of expression can be a member of the Mexican Football Federation.

“The Mexican fans deserve respect and people of integrity that represent what we want our national team to be, a great show, family friendly, that unites us in our passion.”

On Sunday, El Tri won their seventh Gold Cup title with a 3-1 victory over Jamaica at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. On the way home to Mexico, Herrera allegedly physically assaulted journalist and broadcaster Christian Martinoli (best known to American soccer fans for this) at Philadelphia International Airport.

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Posted in Featured, Mexican Soccer | 97 Comments

Wednesday Kickoff: Muller not leaving Bayern; Cavani suspended for Copa America incident; and more

ThomasMullerBayernMunich1-RomaUCL2015 (Getty)

 

By RYAN TOLMICH

Despite rumors of record bids, Thomas Muller isn’t going anywhere.

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says he believes that Muller “will never leave Bayern Munich,” even though the forward has been the subject of numerous rumors this summer. Linked with a move to Manchester United, Muller’s future, Rummenigge says, is at Bayern, a club he signed with until 2019.

“Thomas Muller is not for sale,” Rummenigge said. “I have the feeling that Thomas will never leave FC Bayern. He feels great here. When Thomas retires one day, we’d like to integrate him into the club, if he wants to do.

“We have already accounted for it last year, at that time he had contract for another three years. Ahead of time, we prolonged it for another two years, and increased his salary. The one thing does not rule out the other. Let’s wait and see.”

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

Posted in European Soccer, Featured, FIFA, International Soccer, South American Soccer | 2 Comments

The SBI Show: Episode 225 (Talking the Gold Cup, Klinsmann’s future, MLS Week 21 and more)

USA Panama 3rd Place Gold Cup (Getty)

 

By IVES GALARCEP

The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup is finally behind us, and it’s a tournament the U.S. Men’s National Team will want to forget, even as its fans continue to search for answers for what went wrong.

Episode 225 of The SBI Show looks back at the tournament, including the U.S. team’s disappointing fourth place finish. We discuss the status of Jurgen Klinsmann, and also discuss the rest of the tournament with Goal.com’s CONCACAF expert, Jon Arnold.

Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss the latest in MLS, from the Week 21 results, to the signings of Didier Drogba and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

This episode of The SBI Show is brought to you by Soccerloco.com, your source for all your soccer apparel and equipment needs.

Give Episode 225 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:

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Posted in CONCACAF Gold Cup, Featured, Major League Soccer, Podcasts, U.S. Men's National Team, Uncategorized | 37 Comments

Boxx, Holliday to retire from USWNT at end of 2015

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Photo by Bruce Fedyck/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

After this summer’s triumph at the Women’s World Cup, U.S. Women’s National Team midfielders Shannon Boxx and Lauren Holiday are set to ride off into the sunset.

Both Holiday and Boxx will retire from the USWNT upon the conclusion of this fall’s 10-game victory tour. In addition, Boxx will also be retiring from the club game and will not be returning to the Chicago Red Stars for the remainder of the NWSL season.

Holiday’s retirement puts an end to a career that started with her first cap in 2007. In total, the 27-year-old former Lauren Cheney has amassed 130 caps and 24 goals, including the eventual game-winner in the Women’s World Cup final against Japan.

“I prayed about it for a couple years and really over the last year, I’ve had a lot of clarity that I was ready to move on,” said Holiday. “It is a bit bittersweet as I have a lot of emotion invested in the Women’s National Team, but I’m also excited to start the next chapter of my life. I’ve accomplished and fulfilled all my dreams in soccer and now there are other things I want to do. I want to serve other people and focus on my family. Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Women's National Team, Uncategorized | 6 Comments