By FRANCO PANIZO
It was not the result Greg Garza or Club Tijuana wanted, but the U.S. Men’s National Team defender ended a personal drought this weekend that dated back more than two years..
Garza found the back of the net for the first time since Nov. 16, 2012, on Friday, scoring Club Tijuana’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to fellow American Edgar Castillo and Atlas. The tally came via a close-range finish following a cross from the right and put Tijuana ahead just before halftime. Unfortunately for the Xolos, they allowed the lead to slip away and now hold a slim one-point advantage for one of Liga MX’s playoff spots.
A pair of Americans squared off in Germany, as John Brooks and Fabian Johnson both started for their respective clubs in Hertha Berlin’s 2-1 home loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach. Brooks went the distance for Hertha in the match, and Johnson lasted until the 79th minute before being replaced. The win kept third-placed Moenchengladbach in control of the Bundesliga’s final guaranteed UEFA Champions League spot.
It was not all good news this weekend, however. Brad Guzan was surprisingly not given the nod for Aston Villa on Saturday, and instead demoted to the bench while Shay Given started in between the pipes in a 3-2 win over Everton. It marked the first time this season that Guzan did not start in league play for the Villans, snapping his streak at 34 games.
Here is how the Americans Abroad fared this weekend:
Photo by FC Edmonton
By AARON CRANFORD
Minnesota United FC had no answer for the play of FC Edmonton winger Lance Laing in their 2-2 draw with the Canadian club.
Laing added a goal and an assist to his tally on the year, and due to his performance, the Loons remain winless five weeks into the NASL Spring Season.
Tomi Ameobi claimed the second for the Eddies in the 71st minute, but it was all set up by the play of Laing. He sped with the ball down the left, and instead of blasting a shot at a tight angle, coolly passed the ball across the goal where the Eddies striker was there to meet it.
Miguel Ibarra celebrated the opening goal and his first of the season in the second minute of play, but it was Laing who started the comeback with a beautifully-struck free kick and looked to have finished the game off with his assist.
However, Jamie Watson had the last laugh after slotting in a penalty kick for the Loons late in the game. Continue reading
By ADAM TROXTELL
For the first time in five years, Chelsea will finish as the top team in the English Premier League.
The Blues sealed their fourth Premier League title on Sunday with a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace. Eden Hazard scored the lone goal by rebounding his own penalty kick in the 45th minute.
Though Palace attempted to offer some form of opposition, Chelsea went on to dominate the game and celebrate at the final whistle. It is the first time since the 2009-10 season, then under Carlo Ancelotti, since the Blues have lifted the top prize in English soccer. Three of the club’s four titles have been secured with Jose Mourinho at the helm.
Chelsea spent the first half just waiting for the goal to come, and it finally did as halftime approached. James McArthur and Adrian Mariappa were unable to keep up with Hazard as he darted into the box, both taking part in bringing down the Belgian.
The penalty was taken poorly by Hazard’s standards and saved by Speroni. But he could do nothing about the resulting header that sailed inside the far right post to finally make Chelsea’s title claim official.
Elsewhere, Roma put a serious dent in Genoa’s UEFA Champions League hopes in Serie A, and Borussia Monchengladbach took a step toward the Bundesliga’s European spots while forcing Hertha Berlin to work to avoid the drop.
Here are more recaps from Sunday’s action across Europe’s top leagues:
By IVES GALARCEP
There may have only been one U.S. Men’s National Team friendly in the month of April, but that isn’t stopping us from seriously shaking up our projection for the USMNT Gold Cup roster.
No, this isn’t an overreaction to Jordan Morris’ impressive showings against Mexico (for senior team and the U-23s), but rather an acknowledgment that Jurgen Klinsmann can make several roster changes within the Gold Cup (after the group stage) which will give him even more options beyond the initial roster he must name.
That means we can see more players given chances this summer than we had been projecting earlier.
Does that mean everybody who is worthy of a look will get one? Not quite. There is still plenty of depth all over, and there will be some good players left out.
With that in mind, here is the April projection of the USMNT Gold Cup roster (the squad we see Klinsmann taking):
By CARL SETTERLUND
Major League Soccer announced its 2015 rule changes, and the focus was on player acquisitions, with the league modifying the allocation and discovery player acquisition mechanisms.
The changes go into effect as of today.
The allocation process is being consolidated into one system, combining the Designated Player allocation rankings, the weighted lottery and blind draw acquisition mechanisms, effectively barring a repeat of the hot-button Jermaine Jones signing.
The new system includes a public allocation player ranking list, picked by MLS club technical staffs and the league player personnel department.
MLS also modified the discovery process — the avenue to acquire players not on the allocation list or otherwise ineligible through other player acquisition processes.
Teams can put up to seven players on their discovery list and can modify the list at any time. Players are acquired through the discovery process on a first come, first serve basis.
However, in a new change, teams can offer $50,000 of allocation money to acquire a player that another team already has a claim on. That team must then either make the player a reasonable contract offer or accept the allocation money and give up rights to the player. Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
The final camp before Under-20 World Cup roster selections are due is in the books. Now, players just have to wait and hope they’ve made enough of an impression.
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos got one last up-close-and-personal look at a pool of his players this month with a camp in Austria that saw the Americans tie Qatar and beat Croatia. Ramos had a lot, but not all, of his first-choice players at his disposal, which allowed him to simultaneously fine-tune things and assess those youngsters still fighting desperately to grab one of the remaining World Cup spots.
Competition is heavy throughout the entire squad, but the midfield and defense are areas where Ramos will really have to make some tough decisions. Versatility could be key in helping land one of those final places on the squad, as well as getting first-team minutes, which several of Ramos’ MLS-based players are encouragingly getting right now at their clubs.
Ramos still has until next month to mull things over, but the date to submit rosters is fast approaching. With that, here is SBI’s latest projection of the 21 players that could make it to the World Cup in New Zealand:
By RYAN TOLMICH
For over a century, the attractions of Coney Island have provided entertainment for the city of New York. From the famous Cyclone and Wonder Wheel to the hod dogs at the original Nathan’s, Coney Island has long had a flavor all its own.
On Saturday night, the area had an attraction unfamiliar with the theme parks of yesteryear: soccer.
The New York Cosmos played their first home game in the borough of Brooklyn Saturday night, taking down Ottawa Fury FC, 1-0, at MCU Park in Coney Island.
Away from the friendly confines of Hofstra and Shuart Stadium for the first time, the Cosmos’ foray into Brooklyn provided a new experience, one that head coach Giovanni Savarese was quick to embrace.
“I think it was an exciting night to play in Brooklyn in a stadium that was an interesting set-up with all of that stuff going around,” Savarese said.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to it, if it happens again, to be able to play in this place again.” Continue reading
Photo by Bill Steicher / USA Today Sports
By ADAM TROXTELL
Toronto FC’s second straight win came in a seemingly relaxed manner.
It was the Philadelphia Union who did most of the running with the ball as TFC left PPL Park with a 1-0 victory. Possession never produced the desired result for the Union, who have just one win in their last five outings against Eastern Conference opposition.
Sebastian Giovinco secured the win for TFC with a free kick in the 34th minute. The Italian blasted a shot from well outside the 18-yard box and past a flailing John McCarthy for the winner.
Toronto used its smaller share of possession to blast three shots on target, opting for efficiency as the Union kept the visitors off of the ball for the majority of the afternoon. But that only produced a Cristian Maidana strike that rattled the cross bar and a Fernando Aristeguieta headed goal that was ruled out for offside.