New York Red Bulls celebrate 15

MLS Week 4: The SBI Rewind

The New York Red Bulls worked their gameplay to perfection, the Portland Timbers found a way to drop points again, and more of SBI’s takeaways from Week 4 in MLS.

MLS: Playoffs-New England Revolution at Columbus Crew

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Kelyn Rowe

The New England Revolution’s goal drought has finally come to an end, thanks to Kelyn Rowe, SBI’s MLS Player of the Week.

USATSI_8455028_168381069_lowres

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Matt Polster

The Chicago Fire picked up its first points of the season on Sunday afternoon and Matt Polster played a major role in the result.

Must-See Goal: Andy Najar

Andy Najar, Roy Miller

Posted in CONCACAF, CONCACAF Gold Cup, Must-See Goals | 2 Comments

European Weekend Rewind: Russia’s trip to Montenegro abandoned; Kane scores for England; and more

russia-montenegro

 

By AYDIN REYHAN

EURO 2016 Qualifying returned this weekend with some memorable action as most nations took part in their fifth game thus far.

Controversy highlighted the weekend, as Friday’s matchup between Russia and Montenegro was abandoned after numerous incidents of home fans throwing objects at the visiting Russian players, prompting a brawl in the second half.

Elsewhere, Harry Kane scored a debut goal for England, while Wales managed to blank Israel, who was previously unbeaten, 3-0, on the road courtesy of a double from Gareth Bale.

In addition, Spain edged past Ukraine in a battle for second thanks to Alvaro Morata’s debut strike for his country, while, Slovenia and Switzerland both recorded victories to reach nine points in group E, sitting second and third respectively.

Here is all that occurred in EURO qualifying this weekend: Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer | Leave a comment

MLS Week 4: The SBI Rewind

New York Red Bulls celebrate 15

photo by Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

During the preseason, one New York Red Bulls player told SBI that the club’s new playing style under Jesse Marsch was similar to that of Barcelona in the way that it demanded players to press high up the field.

The Red Bulls’ system may not be quite as elegant as that of the Spanish giants, but it is proving plenty effective so far in the season.

A team that many predicted to have a down year, the Red Bulls finished March by moving into first place in the Eastern Conference this weekend. New York went on the road and picked up a 2-1 triumph over the Columbus Crew on Saturday, and it was the high-pressure system that Marsch has implemented that paved the way for the victory.

While the Red Bulls made a move up the table, the Portland Timbers and Philadelphia Union continued to stay near the bottom. Both clubs dropped points this weekend in different fashions, and their head coaches will now to need to really consider shaking things up in order to avoid falling further behind the pack this early in the season.

Here are the things from Week 4 that SBI is drawing from:

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer | Leave a comment

SBI MLS Player of the Week: Kelyn Rowe

USATSI_8482244_168381069_lowres

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.

Posted in Featured, MLS- New England Revolution, SBI MLS Player of the Week | Leave a comment

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Matt Polster

USATSI_8455028_168381069_lowres

Photo by Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

By MATT STYPULKOSKI

The Chicago Fire picked up its first points of the season on Sunday afternoon and Matt Polster played a major role in the result.

Matched up against veterans Maurice Edu and Vincent Noguiera, Polster was clinical and precise in the midfield in the Fire’s 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union, earning the midfielder recognition as SBI MLS Rookie of the Week.

The 21-year-old out of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville started in the midfield alongside Michael Stephens. The duo bossed the game, consistently out-dueling Edu and Nogueira, and Polster connected on 40 of his 48 pass attempts on the day – an 83 percent completion rate.

Sunday marked Polster’s third consecutive start for the Fire after coming on as a substitute against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the season opener.

Polster beat out Seattle Sounders midfielder Christian Roldan for this week’s honors.

What did you think of Polster’s performance? Which rookie stood out to you in MLS Week 4?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Featured, MLS- Chicago Fire, SBI MLS Rookie of the Week | Leave a comment

SBI MLS Team of the Week: New York Red Bulls

USATSI_8470854_168381069_lowres

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.

Posted in Featured, MLS- New York Red Bulls, SBI MLS Team of the Week, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday Kickoff: Neymar calls for referee awareness; Chicharito frustrated by lack of playing time; and more

Brazil France Neymar

 

By RYAN TOLMICH

Brazilian star Neymar is widely recognized as one of the game’s top players, and that status has left him as a major target for persistent fouling and general rough play.

The Barcelona forward was most recently the victim of a stomp by Chile’s Gary Medel that was missed by the referee, Martin Atkinso, in a 1-0 victory for Brazil. Also injured in last summer’s World Cup, Neymar hopes that referees can start to keep a better grasp on those fouling him, as he cannot do anything himself in retaliation.

“I hope [Copa America referees will be more aware], because I cannot defend myself, I cannot fight back, I cannot do anything,” Neymar said. “[If] we have a referee on the pitch that is there to punish them, then they have to keep an eye on it. I have to congratulate the referee [Atkinson] for the match, but I think he missed in this incident.

“That wasn’t part of the game because if it was, then the sport name had to be UFC and not football,” he said. “But the referee didn’t see that. He’s there to see everything but he [is] just not seeing. Has four referees on the pitch and nobody saw anything. But I know it happens, someone has to pay and I suffer the pain.”

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

Posted in European Soccer, Featured, International Soccer | 9 Comments

Najar leads Honduras to Gold Cup with comeback victory over French Guiana

AndyNajarHonduras1-CostaRicaGoldCup2013 (Getty)

By RYAN TOLMICH

Down 3-1 entering Sunday night’s second leg, Honduras was going to have to put together a special performance to rekindle the country’s hopes of appearing in this summer’s Gold Cup.

On the back of Andy Najar, a special performance is exactly what Los Catrachos put forth.

Honduras topped French Guiana, 3-0, Sunday and 4-3 on aggregate to claim the 12th and final spot in July’s Gold Cup.

Najar led the way for Los Catrachos, who were topped 3-1 in the opening leg in French Guiana. The former D.C. United midfielder scored a pair of goals in a little over two minutes, the first of which came in the 30th minute via a spectacularly hit volley from outside the box. Continue reading »

Posted in CONCACAF, CONCACAF Gold Cup, Featured | 4 Comments