By ADAM TROXTELL
After 16 seasons, Columbus Crew’s home stadium will have a new name above the door.
The Crew announced on Tuesday that global financial services firm MAPFRE Insurance has bought the stadium naming rights in the largest sponsorship deal in the club’s history. Now called MAPFRE (pronounced MAH-fray) Stadium, the first game under the new name will take place on March 14 against rivals Toronto FC.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with a world class company like MAPFRE Insurance and thank them for their support of Crew SC,” Anthony Precourt, Crew investor-operator and chairman, said in a club announcement on Tuesday. “We expect MAPFRE Stadium to become an even greater place for our growing fan base to cheer on Columbus’ original major league franchise for years to come.”
In addition to the naming rights, MAPFRE will sponsor the Crew community program, Give Forward. MAPFRE is now considered the club’s official auto, life and home insurance sponsor.
This is the second alteration to the Crew’s stadium since Precourt Sports Ventures began investing in the club. Ahead of last season, two new LED displays were added to the upper deck and seating was expanded during a renovation project.
Here is some more MLS news and notes for Tuesday:
Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports
By IVES GALARCEP
The 2015 MLS season is scheduled to begin in just four days and The SBI Show kicks off its look ahead to the new season in the first of three preview episodes.
Episode 194 of The SBI Show takes an in-depth look at the MLS Eastern Conference, as we break down all 10 teams, and why we see some struggling, and some fighting for the East title.
Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss our breakout player candidates in the East, and we also discuss the latest in the MLS labor talks.
Give Episode 194 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:
By ADAM TROXTELL
Aston Villa is searching for its first win with Tim Sherwood in charge against local rivals.
West Brom visits Villa Park for the first of two times this week in English Premier League action on Tuesday. The Baggies are unbeaten in their last five outings and will try to hand their Midlands rivals a third consecutive defeat.
After falling to Newcastle on Saturday, Villa sits 19th in the Premier League standings and can climb out of the relegation zone with a win. Fellow strugglers Sunderland visit Hull in search of a vital win, while Southampton tries to regain ground in the race for a UEFA Champions League spot against 12th-place Crystal palace.
Midweek domestic cup action is taking place in both Germany and France. The DFB Pokal round of 16 kicks off with Bayer Leverkusen playing 2. Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern. Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund will try to take Bundesliga form into its road trip to face Dynamo Dresden. Dortmund beat rivals Schalke 3-0 on Saturday for a fourth consecutive league win.
Later in the day, Santos Laguna will try to exact revenge on Queretaro, who trounced them 5-0 the last time the teams met in Copa MX action. Brazil’s Cruzeiro hosts Argentine club Huracan in Copa Libertadores group play, while Montreal Impact take a 2-2 aggregate score into the second leg against Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions League.
If you will be watching today’s action, feel free to leave your thoughts, opinions, and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (today’s soccer on TV schedule after the jump):
By RYAN TOLMICH
For much of the build-up to the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, the focus was on the attacking talent wielded by the U.S Under-17 Men’s National Team. With highly touted prospects Haji Wright, Christian Pulisic and Joe Gallardo, the U.S. has an attacking force that was tabbed to lead the way for the team in Honduras.
While the players atop the field did contribute a pair of goals via Gallardo and Wright, it was the defense that really asserted their dominance in Monday night’s 2-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago.
Led by captain Huge Arellano, left back John Nelson, right back Matthew Olosunde and center back Tanner Dieterich, the backline prevented T&T from emerging with many bonafide opportunities, save for a 35th-minute Arellano clearance following a deflection from goalkeeper William Pulisic.
“It started off pretty slow for us,” Arellano said, via U.S. Soccer. “We had to pick up the pace and obviously compete against them. That really brought up the tempo of the game and it pushed us. We came out with the shutout and that’s what we try to play for, defensively.
“Communication is a big factor, especially in backline. Me and Tanner (Dieterich) were able to do our part in the center, and Johnny (Nelson) and Matt (Olosunde) covered us out wide. And having Will (Pulisic) back there, we knew we were supported.” Continue reading
Photo by Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports
By ADAM TROXTELL
After he was drafted by FC Dallas in 2013, Ryan Hollingshead first had to deal with some unfinished business that could easily have halted his career.
He had to ask FCD for a year off to return to California, where he was due to help his brother, Scott, complete their dream of building a church from the ground up. It’s a process that, much like the path of a young soccer player, holds no promise of instant success.
“I think I went into that with an open mindset, not planning everything out,” Hollingshead said about his decision to delay his professional career. “I didn’t go in thinking this was for life, but I also didn’t think ‘let’s get this going and get back to Dallas.’ I was willing to be there.”
If it had taken longer than eight months to get Harvest Bible Chapel in Sacramento up and running, Hollingshead said, there’s a good chance he would not be in preseason now, adapting to a new role that has so far paid dividends. Upon switching to the right wing from midfield, the UCLA-product scored three goals in three preseason games, two against Columbus Crew and one against D.C. United.
He’s now competing for a starting spot and has caught the eye of head coach Oscar Pareja. Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
A legendary loss, a controversial coaching change, and a partial roster reconstruction. It’s the start of a new era for the New York Red Bulls.
The 2014 season did not end as the Red Bulls had hoped, but was still seen largely as a positive one after the club made it to within a goal of the MLS Cup final. The successful playoff run they enjoyed still was not enough to prevent drastic changes, as star player Thierry Henry left the club and subsequently retired before new sporting director Ali Curtis dismissed fan favorite head coach Mike Petke.
Filling Petke’s place almost immediately was Jesse Marsch, a coach with experience throughout various levels of the game and who has been deemed to be more in line with the club’s vision for the future. What that vision consists of is playing a more up-tempo style, and integrating and developing more youth players that will be able to contribute both in the short term and further down the road.
Marsch has a tough task ahead, however. He not only has to placate a rabid fanbase that is still livid over Petke’s firing, but do so with a roster that doesn’t include Henry, Tim Cahill or Jamison Olave. What Marsch does have at his disposal is a chunk of the established core of last year’s team, with Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips, midfielder Dax McCarty and goalkeeper Luis Robles all returning to the fray.
Those veterans and several others will need to buy into Marsch’s system and perform to their standards if the Red Bulls are to have any shot at matching or surpassing last season’s success. It’s a new-look New York team this year, but not one without the usual expectations to deliver.
Here’s a closer look at the 2015 New York Red Bulls: