Switzerland v USA - International Friendly

23 for 2015: Projecting the USMNT Gold Cup roster (March 2015 Edition)

With the U.S. Men’s National Team’s March friendlies now in the books, it’s time to take a look at what the U.S. Gold Cup roster is shaping up to look like four months before the tournament.

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SBI MLS Player of the Month: Ike Opara

Ike Opara has been named SBI MLS Player of the Month for his attacking prowess and league-leading performances in defense.

USMNT Switzerland 78

USMNT 1, Switzerland 1: The SBI Breakdown

From Jozy Altidore’s moment of madness, to Danny Williams’ impressive showing, here is a look back at some of the key developments from the U.S. Men’s National Team’s tie vs. Switzerland.

Orlando City Notes: Kaka nursing injury, but should play vs. D.C. United; Heath targets first home win; and more

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By MIKE GRAMAJO

SANFORD — Orlando City’s star player Kaka picked up a calf injury earlier this week at practice, but he’s not being ruled out for Friday’s home against DC United according to Heath.

“He’s going to be okay,” said Heath. “He’s just got a little slight niggle on his calf, we just don’t want to aggravate it, and he’s doing some work in the gym.”

The Brazilian ace scored the game-tying goal for the Lions last Saturday at Montreal after assisting Pedro Ribeiro moments later. Heath also shot down suggestions about letting Brek Shea, who scored a laser free kick for the U.S. Men’s National Team on Tuesday, shoot free kicks for the club pinpointing back to Kaka being the man for that job.

“[Kaka] got a bit of stick yesterday for Brek’s goal,” said Heath. “As we’re having lunch, Ricky was in there, and he got a little bit of stick from one of the guys about who’s taking the free kicks come Friday.”

Here are some more Orlando City notes:

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SBI MLS Team of the Month: FC Dallas

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 Photo by Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports 

By MATT STYPULKOSKI

Through the first month of the season, FC Dallas tops the race for the Supporters’ Shield.

Of course, the race is still in its infancy, but FC Dallas opened the season with three straight wins – against the San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City and Philadelphia Union – before finally dropping points with a scoreless draw against the reigning Shield-winners, Seattle Sounders, this past weekend.

The resulting 10 points have put FC Dallas one point ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps, the only other team to notch three victories in March, and also earned the club SBI’s Team of the Month honors.

Blas Perez has led the way for FC Dallas up top, notching three of the team’s six goals. And while the club may be best known for its attacking capabilities, it has performed equally well at the back thus far, conceding just once.

FC Dallas beat out the Whitecaps and the New York Red Bulls for this month’s award.

What did you think of FC Dallas’ performances throughout March? What team impressed you most this past month?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in MLS- FC Dallas, SBI MLS Team of the Month | 1 Comment

SBI MLS Rookie of the Month: Fatai Alashe

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Photo by Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

By MATT STYPULKOSKI

Fatai Alashe hasn’t taken long to make an impact for the San Jose Earthquakes.

The Michigan State product – who was taken No. 4 overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft – has appeared in three of the Earthquakes’ first four games, including two starts.

After a late cameo in the season opener, Alashe helped the Earthquakes pull out a 3-2 win in his first start, despite being reduced to 10 men against the reigning Supporters’ Shield-winning Seattle Sounders. One week later, he notched the first goal in the history of Avaya Stadium, scoring from a corner just five minutes into the new building’s christening.

As a result, Alashe was called up to the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team for this past week and has also earned SBI’s MLS Rookie of the Month honors.

Alashe edged out Chicago Fire midfielder Matt Polster, Colorado Rapids defender Axel Sjoberg and New York City FC forward Khiry Shelton for this month’s award.

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What do you think of Alashe’s selection as SBI Rookie of the Month? What has made Alashe so effective as of late? Which rookies have impressed you most so far this season?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in MLS- San Jose Earthquakes, SBI MLS Rookie of the Month | Leave a comment

SBI NASL Season Preview: Minnesota United

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By RYAN TOLMICH

While MLS beckons in either 2017 or 2018, 2015 is all about one thing for Minnesota United: establishing the club as a dominant force in the NASL.

Minnesota United enters 2015 having run rampant through the 2014 regular season, claiming the top spot in last year’s Spring season while finishing as runners-up in the Fall to claim the Woosnam Cup, awarded to the regular season champions. However, that regular season success proved to be all for naught, as the team fell to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the playoff semi-finals by way of penalty kicks

On the backs of young superstars Miguel Ibarra and Christian Ramirez, Minnesota United is once again set to contend with a team that, on paper, appears to have even more talent than last season’s edition.

With MLS veterans Johnny Steele and Kalif Alhassan, as well as international additions Ibson and Sammy N’Djock, head coach Manny Lagos now wields a lineup as strong as any in the league, one that has ambitions of the club’s second championship.

Here’s a closer look at the 2015 Minnesota United. Continue reading »

Posted in NASL | 2 Comments

Must-See Video: Cosmos prank Alecko Eskandarian

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23 for 2015: Projecting the USMNT Gold Cup roster (March 2015 Edition)

Switzerland v USA - International Friendly

By IVES GALARCEP

The month of March was supposed to be a real turning point in the process to identify which players Jurgen Klinsmann would be taking to the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The tournament is still four months away, but with two friendlies in Europe, March was supposed to help Klinsmann thin out the heard, and potentially find some new options.

A loss and a tie later, the list of players who really pushed themselves into the Gold Cup conversation isn’t a long one. Michael Orozco helped his cause, as did Danny Williams.

Klinsmann also introduced some new faces in Ventura Alvarado and William Yarbrough, who could both definitely push themselves into the Gold Cup conversation after publicly declaring their loyalty to the United States.

As we draw closer to the Gold Cup, it is becoming more and more clear that there are going to be several players left out who may come as a surprise, or may have come as a surprise a year ago.

With that in mind, here is the March edition of the USMNT Gold Cup roster:

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Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

SBI MLS Player of the Month: Ike Opara

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Photo by Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

Following Sporting KC’s 1-0 victory over New York City FC last week, head coach Peter Vermes referred to Ike Opara as “a monster”, and the defender’s play in the month of March sure lived up to the billing.

Opara scored a pair of goals in Major League Soccer’s opening month while proving to be an absolute force on the defensive end, earning the centerback recognition as SBI MLS Player of the Month.

While Opara’s pair of finishes, including the winner against NYCFC, are certainly icing on the cake, it has been the centerback’s contributions on the defensive side of things that have been particularly special. Ranking in the top two in interceptions, clearances and duels won, Opara has been an absolute wall at the back anchoring a Sporting KC defense that has been reeling from suspensions, injuries and offseason departures.

Opara’s play on both sides of the ball was enough to earn the defender SBI MLS Player of the Month, beating out Octavio Rivero, Javier Morales, Kaka, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Tyler Deric for March’s honors.

What do you think of Opara’s play in the month of March? Which player stood out to you last month?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Featured, MLS- Sporting Kansas City, SBI MLS Player of the Month | 2 Comments

USMNT 1, Switzerland 1: The SBI Breakdown

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By FRANCO PANIZO

It may not have ended the way some fans and observers had hoped, but the U.S. Men’s National Team made positive strides in its 1-1 friendly against Switzerland

The Americans conceded another late goal after Jozy Altidore was sent off on Wednesday, but there were plenty of good things for U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to draw from the match. From looking more dangerous in the attack than in the previous game vs. Denmark, to defending better as a unit, the U.S. showed in Zurich that it might just be finding a groove before its CONCACAF Gold Cup title defense this summer.

Not everything was positive, however. Altidore provided the latest example of him losing his temper, and forward partner and up-and-coming prospect Gyasi Zardes had a tough time finding a rhythm against the Swiss. Then, there was the whole conceding late thing again.

Here is what SBI is taking away from the U.S.’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, International Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team | 35 Comments