Photo by UCLA Athletics
By AARON CRANFORD
California has had UCLA’s number this year, defeating the Bruins twice during the regular season, but Sunday’s third round of the NCAA Championship will mean so much more this time around.
These Pac-12 rivals will meet in Drake Stadium for the second time this season, and the No. 2 seed Bruins are hoping to ride the success of star midfielder Leo Stolz through to the quarterfinals.
The first team All-Pac-12 selection and former 1860 Munich academy midfielder bagged a brace in the Bruins 2-1 overtime victory over San Diego Sunday, scoring the game-winner in the first overtime, and he will be looking to top the Golden Bears for the last time in his college career.
The Golden Bears are led by nine seniors, including regular-season playmakers Connor Hallisey and Stefano Bonomo. While Bonomo tallied 11 goals in 15 matches played, Hallisey claimed 11 assists this season. The seniors and team have combined to create one of the most threatening offenses in the country this season, and they have already produced four goals against the Bruins this campaign.
Here is a closer look at the rest of Sunday’s Round of 16 NCAA Tournament matches: Continue reading
Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
For all the success that the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team has had in international tournaments and friendlies, it was easy to forget that they could be susceptible to a poor performance here or there.
Coming off a long-distance trip to Chile to take part in the Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins tournament, a warm-up for this weekend’s Nike Friendlies, the results did not go the way head coach Richie Williams and his staff planned.
The U.S. conceded late goals in each of their first two matches, drawing host Chile, 2-2, and falling to Brazil, 4-3, before settling for a 1-1 draw with Qatar in their final match. It was one of the rare occasions where the team flew home without any silverware.
“I think (overall) things have been going very very well for the team, we’ve been playing well but also getting different results, and we want to continue to play well and continue to develop (the players),” Williams said in a phone interview. “But they also need to start learning as they get older, especially with (U-17 World Cup) qualifying and that with many of these players being professionals or will become professionals, results matter and you need to take your chances and have a shutout mentality and not give up soft goals.”
Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will be an experienced squad when they kick off the 2014 Nike International Friendlies on Friday evening.
Head coach Richie Williams has selected a 20-man roster to take part in the annual tournament taking place from Friday through Tuesday at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. The team features 16 players from the 2013 squad that took home the tournament title.
Headlining the strong roster is last year’s Golden Boot winner Haji Wright, MVP Christian Pulisic, and Golden Glove award winner Kevin Silva.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Williams told SBI in a phone interview. “The Nike Friendlies are always really good competitive international matches. Again we’ll play England and Brazil again and throw in Australia, they’ve been improving quite a bit from the senior tema down into their youth teams.
“We have our work cut out for us but we’re up for the challenge and we want to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke and all the winning we’ve been doing and also playing really well, we want to continue to do that throughout the friendlies. It’s just another opportunity for our players to get some quality international minutes to gain more experience, for us to see different guys in different situations and it’s just another preparation for us for qualifying in February.”
Photo by USA TODAY Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
From his sensational World Cup strike to his impressive club performances in 2013, Tim Cahill has shown repeatedly that he can step up and deliver in big moments.
Unfortunately for the New York Red Bulls, they haven’t seen much of that this year, and now need Cahill to deliver more than ever.
The Red Bulls head into Saturday’s Eastern Conference Finals second leg needing to overturn a 2-1 deficit against New England, and must do so without suspended MLS Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips. Cahill is the safe bet to replace Wright-Phillips in the lineup, and will be tasked with trying to fill in for a player who has scored 31 combined goals in the regular season and playoffs.
Frankly, Cahill is long overdue to step up for his club. The Australian star has followed up an MVP-caliber 2013 with a lackluster 2014 for the Red Bulls. He has provided just two goals and two assists in this season, performing inconsistently to the point of losing his starting job late in the regular season and through the playoffs.
Not exactly the kind of season the Red Bulls would have expected from one of the league’s highest-paid players.
Photo by Bob Dechiara/USA TODAY Sports
By CARL SETTERLUND
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — If you were forced to get into a Black Friday shopping confrontation with any member of the New England Revolution’s starting lineup, Scott Caldwell would probably be the pick of quite a few.
At 5-foot-8 and with an average build, Caldwell doesn’t look like he would fight you for that last half-priced, flat screen TV. He has an unassuming demeanor off the field, right down to the CPA license he recently secured.
Don’t let the nice guy look fool you. The player Jermaine Jones describes as a pit bull is just tenacious enough to make you regret battling him, and he also happens to be blossoming into one of the better young defensive midfielders in Major League Soccer.
“Scott’s been playing really well this season,” said MVP candidate Lee Nguyen. “He’s kind of the anchor there in the midfield for us and I think (Jermaine Jones) loves it as well. It lets Jermaine roam a little bit more, to try and go find the ball, and it also frees me up to attack a bit more.”
Caldwell is the forgotten cog in a central midfield triangle that also includes Nguyen and Jones. But with the Revs one result away from their first MLS Cup appearance since 2007, Caldwell might not be far away from the national recognition he’s dodged thus far. Continue reading