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SBI MLS Season Preview: New York City FC

Jason Kreis is leading a talented and deep New York City FC team into a first season that comes with high expectations for the expansion club.

David Beckham FIU

Reports: Miami-Dade commission set to offer David Beckham stadium site

The Miami-Dade County commission agreed this week to propose a stadium site west of Marlins Park for David Beckham’s Miami MLS franchise.

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SBI MLS Preseason Power Rankings

With the 2015 MLS season set to kick off on Friday, here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings to start the new campaign.

NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson backs ‘total free agency’ in wake of MLS labor deal

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By RYAN TOLMICH

On the heels of the recent MLS CBA negotiations, free agency is a hot topic in the North American soccer landscape.

With the announcement of a limited form of free agency extended to MLS veteran players, the league has taken a step toward developing somewhat of a free market. However, that market has its disadvantages from a player standpoint, as free agency in the latest incarnation of MLS’ CBA is limited strictly for veterans, while even those eligible have a cap on salary increases.

Free agency is nothing new in NASL, where players have the freedom to play for any team they want once out of contract, much as is the case in the rest of the soccer world. NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson remains a believer in that system, and while he is glad MLS is set to take the field on time, he believes the league’s players are still at a major disadvantage.

“First of all, I’m glad that they reached an agreement,” Peterson told SBI on Thursday. “I think that that it’s important that both sides have agreed that these are terms that they accept. I don’t think what’s being called ‘free agency’ is very advantageous for the players. You look at our league where guys sign one or two-year deals and then are able to go back out and test the market with any team in the world. That’s free agency, in my opinion, but they agreed to it. That’s their business and we wish them well.

“It won’t effect anything we’re doing. I think you find that more and more of the agents and more and more of the players start to realize what free agency really looks like when they come into the NASL and that’s one of our advantages, one of our unique selling points, that a player can come in and prove himself at a very high level and, in a short period of time, go back out there onto the market.” Continue reading »

Posted in NASL | 1 Comment

SBI MLS Season Preview: New York City FC

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By FRANCO PANIZO

While the New York Red Bulls/MetroStars have been in MLS since its inception, there has always been a healthy number of soccer fans from New York’s five boroughs who have clamored for an MLS team to call their own. One that plays within the city’s limits, and not next door in New Jersey.

Well, the time for that has finally come.

After nearly two years of preparation and several more of anticipation, a second New York team is taking to the MLS field in 2015. New York City FC is ready to introduce itself to the rest of the league and soccer world, and hoping to do so with a successful season that meets the sizable expectations that some observers and fans have for the expansion club.

Owned by two notorious sports associations in City Football Group and the New York Yankees, NYCFC has already been built into what seems like a competitive team. Former Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis is leading the charge, and doing so with talented roster that includes Spanish striker David Villa, U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Mix Diskerud, and a bevy of other seasoned professionals from MLS, Europe and South America.

All that talent is being counted on to help NYCFC enjoy the type of strong first year that could make a serious dent in New York’s saturated sports market. It won’t be easy, of course. MLS looks as competitive as ever, and there is a history of expansion teams struggling in their first seasons in the league.

New York City FC has the tools to make it all work. The owners have poured some good money into the club, bringing in both players and coaches who have competed and succeeded at high levels. Now, it’s all about getting them to jell and perform so as to make a serious impact on New York’s changing soccer landscape.

Here is a closer look at New York City FC ahead of the 2015 season:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- New York City FC | 2 Comments

Reports: Miami-Dade commission set to offer David Beckham stadium site

David Beckham FIU

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

The ball is now in David Beckham’s court.

After spending much of the last year looking for a suitable Miami location for a soccer-specific stadium for his MLS franchise, Beckham will soon have an offer on the table that he will need to consider. Several reports out of South Florida are indicating that the Miami-Dade County commission agreed this week to propose a stadium site west of Marlins Park to Beckham, a move that could bring an end to a year-long search that has brought its share of headaches for Beckham and his ownership group.

While the commission has identified that parcel, it is currently unclear as to whether Beckham will want to build a stadium there. There is no word as to how much contact the commission has had with Beckham and his group over the space of land, which is in an area that Beckham’s group had seen as “spiritually tainted” because of the negative stigma attached to Marlins Park.

That stance came early in the searching process, however, and before a number of hurdles left Beckham and his partners reassessing their options.

Beckham announced plans to launch an expansion MLS franchise a little over a year ago. There are currently only two remaining slots available before MLS reaches the 24-club mark it said it wishes to have by 2020.

What do you make of this development? Should Beckham jump at the chance at taking this land or should he continue to look elsewhere? Still think MLS should skip Miami as an expansion market altogether?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Featured, MLS- Miami | 14 Comments

SBI MLS Preseason Power Rankings

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Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

Following lengthy negotiations that threatened to derail the start of the season, Major League Soccer is set to kick off this weekend with the LA Galaxy looking poised to defend their crown.

Despite the loss of Landon Donovan, the Galaxy look to be the frontrunners once again due to the strike partnership of Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes. However, with a constantly improving Western Conference nipping at their heels, the Galaxy will have to really work to maintain their status atop the league.

The Seattle Sounders are once again poised to chase the ever-elusive MLS Cup following last season’s double, while the New England Revolution, Columbus Crew, D.C. United and Toronto FC appear to have title aspirations coming out of the East.

Elsewhere, the league has plenty of teams jockeying go take that next step into contention, while newcomers Orlando City and New York City FC will prove to be wild cards heading into their inaugural MLS campaigns.

With so many teams adding pieces from top to bottom, ordering them heading into 2015 was surely a challenge, but here is how the staff at SBI Soccer sees things shaking out this season.

Here is a look at the SBI MLS Preseason Power Rankings

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, SBI MLS Power Rankings | 10 Comments

This Weekend’s Soccer On TV

Real Madrid CF v Real Sociedad de Futbol - La Liga

 

By ADAM TROXTELL

With Barcelona back within reach of first place, league leaders Real Madrid face even more pressure on the road against Athletic Bilbao.

A draw against Villarreal last Sunday leaves Real Madrid two points ahead of its El Clasico rival in the Spanish Primera Division. Los Blancos were held to a draw the last time they visited San Mames Barria, but they have won eight of the last nine encounters against Bilbao stretching back to 2010.

Barcelona plays Rayo Vallecano the following day, having beaten the Madrid-based side each of the last seven times the teams have met. Elsewhere in Spain, third place Atletico Madrid plays fourth-place Valencia.

The English FA Cup quarterfinal round pits Aston Villa against rivals West Brom on Saturday. Liverpool faces Blackburn on Sunday in the first meeting between the teams since 2012.

In Italy, Napoli will try to solidify its position in third place when Inter Milan pays a visit on Sunday. The Naples side edged Inter 1-0 in Coppa Italia play last month, but the teams played out an exciting 2-2 draw when they last met in Serie A.

Cruz Azul will try to halt a two-game skid against Atlas in a match between the sixth and seventh placed teams in Liga MX. Elsewhere, Pachuca will try to bounce back from CONCACAF Champions League elimination with a game against the only Mexican team remaining in that competition, Club America.

The weekend ends with a trio of MLS games in the league’s opening weekend. Expansion teams Orlando City and New York City FC start things off on Sunday, followed by Sporting Kansas City and New York Red Bulls. Seattle Sounders and MLS Cup finalists New England Revolution wrap up the weekend in the late kickoff.

Here is this weekend’s soccer on TV (schedule after the jump):

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, Soccer on TV | 2 Comments

Midday Ticker: Evans, Cisse charged for spitting incident; Robinho gets Brazil recall; and more

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By ADAM TROXTELL

Both Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse and Manchester United’s Jonny Evans will be charged over a spitting incident.

The pair were caught on video apparently spitting at each other when they clashed during Man United’s road game against Newcastle on Wednesday. The FA has announced that while the match officials did not see the incident, both will face disciplinary action.

The incident occurred in the 38th minute. Cisse fell to the ground while battling Evans for a loose ball during the match, and Evans appears to spit at the Senegalese striker as he rose.

Cisse attempts to grab Evans before he appears to spit back. The Newcastle man apologized for his actions on Thursday, but Evans has denied spitting during the incident.

Both players have until Monday night to respond to the charge. The minimum ban for spitting is six games, though Cisse could get a longer suspension since he was already banned for violent conduct earlier this season.

Here are some more news and notes for your Thursday afternoon:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | 6 Comments