Rais Mbolhi Philadelphia Union 4

Rais Mbolhi decision forthcoming from Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin told SBI on Thursday that a decision on goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi will be made soon.

Sacha Kljestan New York Red Bulls San Jose Earthquakes 41

Red Bulls roll past Earthquakes

The New York Red Bulls continued their unbeaten run, scoring two first-half goals en route to a 2-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena on Friday.

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Red Bulls not satisfied with performance despite extending unbeaten run to five

Jesse Marsch New York Red Bulls 27

Photo by Jim O’Connor/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

HARRISON, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls had clearly been the better side in the first half. They had created chances. They had a two-goal lead. Red Bull Arena was buzzing in full support.

All that still did not stop head coach Jesse Marsch from going into the locker room at halftime to shout at his men. Marsch wanted better regardless of how pretty New York was already sitting, and his players agreed.

The Red Bulls defeated the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, on Friday night, but both Marsch and the team were not satisfied with the overall performance despite being pleased with the final result. New York felt it was often too sloppy with its passing, that it failed to truly put the game out of reach and that there was a bit of a letdown from an intensity standpoint in the final 15-20 minutes.

Mind you, this was all coming from a club that was now undefeated through five games and in first place of the Eastern Conference. But you sure would have been hard-pressed to figure that out judging by the mood in the Red Bulls’ largely quiet locker room.

“You look at last week and there’s so many good teams that thought they were good teams, and then whether they underestimated their opponent or just didn’t bring the same sort of fight to the game, they came out flat. We showed some of that today,” said goalkeeper Luis Robles, whose voice was hoarse from so much shouting. “We were fortunate to get two goals, and to hold them off, but there were definitely moments when they were the better team. Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- New York Red Bulls | 3 Comments

Carter-Vickers, Steffen and Roldan headline roster for U.S. U-20 camp

Cameron Carter-Vickers U-20 USMNT Panama

By IVES GALARCEP

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s preparations for the Under-20 World Cup will take Tab Ramos’ squad to Austria, where 20 players have been chosen to take part in a training camp starting on Saturday.

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defender Cameron Carter-Vickers and midfielder Junior Flores are among the players who will gather in Linz, Austria for the one-week camp. The U.S. Under-20s will play friendlies against Qatar and Croatia.

Jordan Allen, Christian Roldan and Zach Pfeffer will take part in their first U.S. Under-20 training camp of the year.

Here is the 20-man roster:

Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Under-20 National Team | 11 Comments

USMNT goal is a dream fulfilled for student-athlete Jordan Morris

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Photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

By Friday afternoon, Jordan Morris will be bound to the normality of college classes just like any other student; but, Wednesday night presented the forward with a chance to live his dream.

A college student by day, Morris was thrust into the spotlight that evening, helping to lead the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 2-0 victory over heated rivals Mexico.

Just 20-years-old, Morris has grown up with the rivalry, one that was as one-sided as any before he was born. Wednesday, the Stanford forward had his part to play.

Scoreless as the teams emerged from halftime, Morris found himself alone on goal just minutes into the second half. With the weight of his youth, and the Mexican defense, chasing him down, Morris remained calm and fulfilled a goal he’s had for himself since he first kicked the ball as a youngster in Seattle.

“It was a super emotional time,” Morris said after the game. “I dreamed about it last night, I’ve dreamed about it since I was a little kid. Scoring goals, especially in such a big game, it was unbelievable. I kind of honestly blacked out a little bit and didn’t know what was going on. It was such an emotional time.” Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Men's National Team | 55 Comments

Revs Notes: Agudelo appreciative of USMNT chance; Nguyen staying positive; and more

Juan Agudelo USA-Mexico (USA Today Images)

Photo by Soobum Im/USA Today Sports

By CARL SETTERLUND

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo said he wanted to make the most of his first call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team in over a year, but he wasn’t getting his hopes up for too much more than a late substitution Wednesday against Mexico.

USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann had something else in mind, subbing off one goal scorer for another as Agudelo replaced Jordan Morris in the 65th minute.

Seven minutes later, Agudelo was pointing to the sky to celebrate his first USMNT goal since 2011.

“To be honest, I appreciate the amount of time that (Klinsmann) gave me to prove myself,” Agudelo said before the Revolution’s training session on Friday. “I wasn’t expecting that much time and I’m just happy I was able to make the most of it.”

Agudelo admitted the moment “definitely overcame me” after putting the United States up 2-0 in the 72nd minute, saying it reminded him of his first USMNT goal against South Africa in 2010.

Although the long ball to set up his goal recalled Kelyn Rowe’s pass on Agudelo’s first goal of the MLS season two weekends ago at Colorado, Agudelo thought it was classic Michael Bradley.

“Kelyn played a little bit of a longer ball,” Agudelo said. “I thought of it more of a Michael Bradley playing Jozy Altidore ball. He usually plays that ball a lot and I was just able to bring it down and do something with it.”

Agudelo had to fight his way back into the USMNT pool after a misadventure in Europe, and that experience made him appreciate wearing the red, white and blue even more. In fact, he said seeing his name on the back of a USMNT jersey again was a highlight of his call-up.

“It’s something that’s really good for him and the club. We really feel that Juan is in a great position,” Revs coach Jay Heaps said. “I’m excited for him because it’s been a long, hard road to get back and he’s done a lot of work to get there.”

Here are a few other notes from Revolution training:

Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- New England Revolution | 12 Comments

Rais Mbolhi decision forthcoming from Philadelphia Union

Rais Mbolhi Philadelphia Union 4

photo by Russ Isabella/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

NEW YORK — Has Rais Mbolhi played his last game for the Philadelphia Union? That’s a question that will soon be answered.

For the second straight game since Union head coach Jim Curtin announced the Algerian goalkeeper’s benching, Mbolhi was not in uniform for the club in its 1-1 road draw vs. New York City FC on Thursday night. The 28-year-old Mbolhi is in fact not even with the team right now. He was recently reported as being in France, and it remains unclear as to if he will ever return to Philadelphia.

The Union plan to have it all sorted soon, though.

“We’ll see. It’s kind of week by week,” Curtin told SBI after being asked if Mbolhi was coming back. “He’s taking some time away right now, but we’ll have a decision soon.”

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, MLS- Philadelphia Union, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Red Bulls roll past Earthquakes

Sacha Kljestan New York Red Bulls San Jose Earthquakes 41

photo by Jim O’Connor/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

HARRISON, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls have been one of the best teams throughout the early stages of the MLS season, and they reminded the San Jose Earthquakes of that very fact on Friday.

New York continued its undefeated start to the 2015 campaign, cruising to a 2-0 victory over San Jose at Red Bull Arena on Friday. Sacha Kljestan and Mike Grella scored six minutes apart in the first half, but the Red Bulls were the better side throughout the 90 minutes, out-shooting the Earthquakes 21-10 and winning the possession battle 57-43.

Kljestan netted the winner and opened his Red Bulls account in the 29th minute off a low cross that was redirected by Bradley Wright-Phillips, and Grella followed that up with a 35th-minute strike from close range.

The Earthquakes had opportunities late to make things interesting, but an inability to finish combined with some strong saves from Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles left the visitors with no points.

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, MLS- New York Red Bulls, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes | 2 Comments

Pablo Mastroeni applying lessons learned from tough first year to 2015 Rapids

Pablo Mastroeni Colorado Rapids 15

photo by Derik Hamilton/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

Mired in a record-tying losing streak that carried over into this season, Pablo Mastroeni felt helpless last September. He had witnessed his Colorado Rapids get smashed, 6-1 and 5-0, in two of the three games they played in a span of two weeks, and none of the players on his relatively young squad was standing up and taking responsibility for the poor stretch of games.

The retired midfielder and Rapids head coach was so affected by it all that he considered doing something unthinkable to help the players out: Getting himself back on the field.

“Young players you’ve got to remember haven’t had to experience four of five losses in a row, six or seven losses in a row, getting beat up every game, taking a lead and then giving it up in the last minute as we did in a couple of occasions last year,” Mastroeni told SBI. “Only experienced players can then understand what it takes in these tough moments to kind of get through it. For me, the fact that I contemplated getting on the field to help the guys was something that stunned me as a coach because I’m saying, ‘Well, if you want to become a better coach then you have to figure out how to avoid these moments in the future.'”

These days, Mastroeni is feeling far from helpless and it’s not just because Colorado finally snapped that winless run at 18 games last Friday with an impressive 4-0 road win against FC Dallas.

Continue reading »

Posted in MLS- Colorado Rapids | 7 Comments

NYCFC looking to grow from second straight late-game mishap against Union

MLS: Philadelphia Union at New York City FC

Photo by Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

For the first few weeks of their inaugural MLS campaign, New York City FC has put a major focus on starting games on the right foot, but if the last two games are any evidence, it is the closing of a contest that is proving to be the team’s undoing.

After conceding a stoppage-time winner in last Saturday’s clash with the Philadelphia Union, NYCFC repeated essentially the same feat Thursday, slumping to a 1-1 draw due to an 86th minute equalizer from C.J. Sapong.

For goalkeeper Josh Saunders, Thursday’s result was as frustrating as could be. Two blown games against the same team are sure to test the morale of any team, something Saunders alluded to after Thursday’s draw despite the positives to take from the first 85 minutes of the game.

“It’s tough. It felt like a loss,” Saunders said of Thursday’s result. “We got a point out of it if you want to take any positives. It kind of keeps things status quo between us and Philly in the Eastern Conference.

“Any time you play back to back you want a little bit of vengeance, especially if you lose it late. It is tough to take another goal late, but it gives us something to work on. I thought we did very well. We did well in the first half, a lot of good chances, just have to be a little more efficient in the final third and in the defensive third late.” Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- New York City FC, MLS- Philadelphia Union | 5 Comments