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Sunday European Rewind: Chelsea claims fourth title; Napoli downs 10-man Milan; and more

Chelsea clinched its fourth Premier League title by beating Crystal Palace, there were wins for Roma and Napoli in Serie A and more from today’s action across Europe.

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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

Chelsea is looking to secure a fourth English Premier League title, while Hertha Berlin seeks Bundesliga safety in some of the Sunday’s best action.

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Rapids surprise Galaxy to nab road draw

Alan Gordon’s header with 15 minutes left salvaged a draw for the LA Galaxy against the Colorado Rapids.

Sunday European Rewind: Chelsea claims fourth title; Napoli downs 10-man Milan; and more

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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:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | Leave a comment

23 for 2015: Projecting the USMNT Gold Cup roster (April 2015 edition)

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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):

Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Men's National Team, Uncategorized | 64 Comments

MLS announces changes to allocation, discovery processes

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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 »

Posted in Major League Soccer | 21 Comments

21 for New Zealand: Projecting the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster (April Edition)

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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:

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Posted in U.S. Under-20 National Team, U.S. Youth National Teams, Under-20 World Cup | 19 Comments

Cosmos embrace playing in Brooklyn and compare surface to current home

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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 »

Posted in NASL, New York Cosmos | 3 Comments

Giovinco blast seals TFC win against Union

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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.

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Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Philadelphia Union, MLS- Toronto FC | 1 Comment

Keita winner against Scorpions keeps Armada undefeated at home

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Photo by Jacksonville Armada FC

By AARON CRANFORD

Thanks to a heroic stoppage-time winner from Jacksonville Armada FC substitute Alhassane Keita, the defending champion San Antonio Scorpions remain winless five weeks into the NASL Spring Season.

The two took jabs at each other in the opening moments, as Marcos Flores assisted Pascal Millien in the third minute, giving Armada FC the early lead.

However, once again, the NASL offered fans a splendid goal, and this time, it came from the effort of Omar Cummings. The forward found the immediate answer in the eighth minute for the Scorpions after hitting an acrobatic scissor-kick, which found its way through many Armada FC defenders.

After two halves of physical play, which saw a total of eight yellow cards dished out on the night, the decider finally came in extra time, and Keita was the man of the moment in Jacksonville. Continue reading »

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Novo nets for RailHawks in draw with Rowdies

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Photo by Rob Kinnan / Carolina RailHawks

By AARON CRANFORD

CARY, N.C. — While Carolina RailHawks forward Nacho Novo continues to shine in 2015, the Tampa Bay Rowdies remained strong and resilient to force a 1-1 draw in front of 4,042 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park.

After sitting out the previous two games for the RailHawks with a nagging groin injury, Novo took little time to find his scoring boots as he grabbed his third of the season. He is tied with San Antonio Scorpions forward Omar Cummings for the league lead. He was quick to point the finger, though, at Tiyi Shipalane, who made the play happen.

“I think we should play more out to him,” Novo told reporters after the draw. “I think we made one pass over, and he made that one-on-one, and this where the goal is coming from, but then after, we just stopped playing for him. From what I watch, we should play more on him, sharper, so he can get one-on-one because always he’s looked dangerous.”

The Rowdies found the equalizer almost 10 minutes after Novo’s opening goal when Georgi Hristov combined with Martin Nunez, who drilled the ball into the back of the net. Although both sides created a flurry of chances for themselves, neither could find a second on the night.

Late in the second half, Hristov was sent packing after receiving a straight red card. The assist-man looked to step on the head of RailHawks midfielder Wells Thompson. Wven with the one-man advantage, the Cary side could not find the crucial game-winner at home. Continue reading »

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