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CONCACAF Champions League Preview: RSL looks to knock off Municipal, Galaxy face Central FC as group stages begin

The CONCACAF Champions League group stage for the 2015/2016 campaign kicks off on Tuesday, with all five MLS teams in action this week.

Aug 1, 2015; Commerce City, CO, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard (8) and defender A.J. DeLaGarza (20) celebrate the goal of forward Robbie Keane (7) in the second half against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Challenges remain in second half of season for LA Galaxy’s star-studded cast

With a star-studded cast and experienced talent at several positions, reigning MLS champions LA Galaxy appear poised for a big second-half to the season.

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The SBI View: Werder Bremen move is right place, right time for Johannsson

U.S. Men’s National Team forward Aron Johannsson is making the right move by leaving AZ Alkmaar and joining Werder Bremen.

Tuesday Evening Ticker: Ajax knocked out of UCL; Roma agree Dzeko fee; and more

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By COLE KELLOGG

On Tuesday night in the Amsterdam ArenA, a perennial European soccer power lost the opportunity to play in the UEFA Champions League group stage in the upcoming season.

Ajax missed out on a chance to be a part of the UCL group stage after five consecutive years as Ajax lost on aggregate, 5-4, to Rapid Vienna in the third round of qualifying.

The famous Dutch side lost 3-2 on Tuesday after rallying from a two-goal deficit at home. Ajax leveled the score in the 75th minute through Nemanja Gudelj with hopes to force extra time, but Rapi went back in front just two minutes later.

After a first-leg score of 2-2 in Austria, Frank de Boer’s men needed a victory at home to go through to the next stage of the competition.

Elsewhere in Champions League qualifying, AS Monaco made it past Swiss side Young Boys, 7-1 on aggregate, Dinamo Zagreb advanced past Molde on away goals, as did APOEL, advancing past FC Midtjylland on away goals.

Here are some more news and notes for your Tuesday evening: Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer | 1 Comment

Jack McInerney traded to Columbus Crew

Jack McInerney Crew Trade (USA TODAY Sports)

Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

Already boasting one of the most potent attacks in MLS, the Columbus Crew could be even more dangerous after the addition of another attacking piece.

The Crew acquired forward Jack McInerney from the Montreal Impact in exchange for the team’s second round pick in the 2016 MLS Draft. The move gives the Crew another young attacking option, as the 22-year-old McInerney has already scored 36 career MLS goals.

“We believe Jack McInerney is going to make an immediate impression on the club and feel that his qualities will help him assimilate easily into our system,” said Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter. “He’s a young player that possesses great timing with his movements and has a talent for scoring goals. His track record so far in this League has been outstanding, and we look forward to him contributing on the field for us.”

The move was a necessary one for the Impact, who were forced into a deal due to roster constraints. Following the signings of Didier Drogba and Johan Venegas, the Impact were required to free up space on the roster, prompting the deal. Continue reading »

Posted in MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- Montreal Impact | 6 Comments

Sounders sign Austrian international Ivanschitz from Levante

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By RYAN TOLMICH

In the midst of a rough stretch, the Seattle Sounders have bolstered their midfield with the signing of a La Liga and Bundesliga veteran.

The Sounders announced Tuesday that it has signed midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz from Spanish club Levante. An Austrian international, the 31-year-old midfielder has 69 career caps and scored 12 international goals

“Andreas is a player who is creative in the attack and dangerous on set pieces, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can contribute to the group,” said head xoach Sigi Schmid. “As we head into the final months of our season and begin CONCACAF Champions League play, we welcome Andreas’ experience and poise at this critical time of year.”

Ivanschitz joins the Sounders after making 49 appearances for Levante in two seasons. Prior to his move to Spain, the midfielder featured for Mainz in the Bundesliga, as well as Panathinaikos, Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid Vienna.

Continue reading »

Posted in MLS- Seattle Sounders | 13 Comments

Brazil to face Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena in September friendly

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Photo by Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

Ahead of the team’s fall friendly against the U.S. Men’s National Team, Brazil is set to face-off with another of CONCACAF’s elite.

Brazil will take on Costa Rica on Sept. 5 in a friendly at Red Bull Arena, it was announced on Tuesday. The match-up comes just three days before Brazil travels to Foxborough, Massachusetts, for a clash with the U.S. Men’s National Team at Gillette Stadium.

Facing off in Harrison, New Jersey, the match between Brazil and Costa Rica will be the South American nation’s second in the state in as many years. The Brazilians defeated Ecuador, 1-0, at MetLife Stadium last September.

With the upcoming friendly falling on a FIFA international date, both teams will be able to call in some of their top stars for the friendly.

Continue reading »

Posted in International Soccer, MLS- New York Red Bulls | Leave a comment

SBI MLS Save of the Week: Andrew Dykstra

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Photo by Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports

Posted in MLS- D.C. United, SBI MLS Save of the Week | Leave a comment

SBI MLS Goal of the Week: Taylor Kemp

photo by Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS Weekly Awards, MLS- D.C. United, SBI MLS Goal of the Week | 3 Comments

SBI MLS Team of the Month: FC Dallas

photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

FC Dallas’ may have endured a nightmare start in July, but that still did not stop the club from enjoying a superb month that pushed it towards the top of the table in the Western Conference.

Four wins, two shutouts, and 13 goals were among the accomplishments that highlighted FC Dallas’ strong July showing. Dallas got off on the wrong foot by getting routed by Sporting Kansas City, 6-2, in U.S. Open Cup play on the first of the month, but quickly put that in the rearview mirror and responded with four straight MLS victories.

The undefeated stretch in league play included wins over the New England Revolution, Orlando City, D.C. United, and Portland Timbers, and earned FC Dallas the SBI MLS Team of the Month award for July. Dallas beat out fellow Western Conference sides the Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids for the honors.

Oscar Pareja’s men, which are off to a losing start in August, currently sit one point behind Vancouver in the Western Conference standings with a game in hand.

What do you think about FC Dallas winning this award? How impressed were you by the club’s July showing? Find it even more remarkable given how it started with that lopsided Open Cup loss?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- FC Dallas, SBI MLS Awards, SBI MLS Team of the Month | Leave a comment

SBI MLS Rookie of the Month: Cyle Larin

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Photo by Adam Hunger/ USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

When it comes to this season’s MLS rookies, Cyle Larin is in a class all his own.

The Orlando City forward made that very evident in the month of July en route to earning honors as SBI MLS Rookie of the Month.

Despite missing time due to the Gold Cup, Larin asserted himself with one of the best rookie performances of all time in his first start back with the Lions. The Canadian star provided a hat-trick, just the third all-time for an expansion franchise. The second youngest player to score three time sin one game, Larin demonstrated his ability to score in a variety of ways, finishing from both close and long range.

Now with a rookie record-tying 11 goals on the season, Larin has notched another honor in the form of July’s SBI MLS Rookie of the Month, beating out Matt Polster and Fatai Alashe.

What do you think of Larin’s recent performances? How impressed are you with what he’s done? Which rookie stood out to you in July?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in MLS- Orlando City, SBI MLS Rookie of the Month | Leave a comment