photo by Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen might think that free agency discussions are a waste of time, but the Players Union is far from agreeing on that point.
In the wake of recent comments from Hansen that stated that discussing free agency is pointless given MLS’s single-entity structure, a Players Union representative has vowed that it intends to stay the course with what it wants from this round of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations.
That means that free agency is still among the chief issues – other forms of player movement and higher finances are others – that needs to be addressed if the MLS season is to start as planned a week from today.
“Economics play a big part, don’t get me wrong, but we’re more fighting for the idea that we can choose,” New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles told SBI. “Every other job in America has this ability to go out into the market, put in your resume and, if you have a few different job offers, weigh which one is best for you, best for your family, and then you can go out (and make a decision).
“Then there’s also this idea that that leverage exists, that the market dictates your value and all these things don’t exist right now and if we continue the current system then I think players will continue to fall into a situation where the league determines what their value is. Even though they need a guy that plays 27 out of 34 games and is playing 2-3 positions, but because the league doesn’t deem you to be one of their marquee guys, even though other teams are willing to pay a premium for you, you’re always going to be stuck in a situation of what the league says and what the league thinks.
By DAN KARELL
New York City FC may very well get one of their earliest Designated Player targets after all.
The club were very close to signing Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez last summ, only for a phone call from Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique to scupper those plans. But in an interview with TV3 Esporte in Barcelona, Reyna confirmed that NYCFC could very well add Xavi as the team’s third Designated Player this summer.
“We are very interested in ‘franchise’ players, like Xavi,” Reyna said in his interview. “The door is not closed. We will see. For sure we will need to bring in a third ‘franchise’ player in the summer.”
NYCFC currently has two Designated Players on their books in forward David Villa and midfielder Frank Lampard, who is expected to join the club in July.
What do you think of this development? Do you see Xavi coming to the USA to play this summer? Would he be a good fit with NYCFC?
Share your thoughts below.
By RYAN TOLMICH
Just one day after sealing their passage into the next stage, the remaining 16 teams vying for the Europa League title learned their fate Friday with the competition’s Round of 16 draw.
Tim Howard and Everton will face a trip to Ukraine, as the Toffees have been paired with Dynamo Kyiv. Roma and Fiorentina, meanwhile, won’t have to travel nearly as far as the Premier League side, as the two Serie A powerhouses will face off in the Round of 16.
Serie A boasts three other representatives in the final 16, as Inter Milan takes on Wolfsburg, Napoli faces Dinamo Moskova, and Torino matches up with Zenit.
The match between the AS Roma and Fiorentina is also not the only intra-country matchup, as reigning champions Sevilla are set to face off with Villarreal.
The opening legs of the Round of 16 will kick off March 12.
Take a closer look at the upcoming Europa League matchups below: Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
After winning the bidding war for the rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, Fox was given an inside track to acquiring the 2026 rights.
The company took full advantage.
FIFA was reportedly not interested in getting into a legal tiff over the 2022 World Cup after it was suggested earlier this week that the tournament in Qatar be moved to the winter. As a result, Fox was awarded the rights to the 2026 tournament for about 10 percent more than its current World Cup deals, which are worth $425 million, according to the New York Times.
ESPN president John Skipper told the New York Times that FIFA was likely “forced to do it in order to avoid legal consequences.” Meanwhile, Univision president Juan Carlos Rodriguez, whose company was not given the chance to bid in favor of 2022 and 2026 rights holder Telemundo, stated that FIFA failed to maximize revenue in the U.S.
Rodriguez also believes that the agreement jeopardizes the chances of the 2026 World Cup coming to the United States, because it is not usual for FIFA to sell TV rights before the host nation of a tournament is chosen.
“If the rights are already fixed, there’s little incentive to FIFA to award 2026 to the U.S.,” Rodriguez said. “If we had been asked to bid, we would have taken it very seriously.”
Here are some more news and notes to kick off your Friday morning: Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
Entering Thursday’s action in preseason form, D.C. United was always going to be a bit behind the eight ball heading into the team’s CONCACAF Champions League match with Alajuelense. However, Ben Olsen and co. could not have imagined things would have gone as poorly as they did.
D.C. United was undone by myriad mistakes, as the reigning Eastern Conference regular season champions fell, 5-2, in Costa Rica.
The disaster started virtually from the get-go, as the Costa Rican side put D.C. United on the back foot from the opening whistle. The pressure pushed D.C. United to crack in the 15th minute when goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra conceded a penalty and picked up a yellow card for a foul in the box, allowing Alajuelense’s Ariel Rodríguez to finish from the spot.
The hosts scored again seven minutes later through Jose Ortiz, before Fabian Espindola gave D.C. United hope with a headed finish just two minutes later. Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
Club Tijuana has gone 11 straight games across all competitions without tasting defeat, and will likely need to extend that streak to 12 if it wishes to keep its stranglehold on the top spot in Liga MX.
With Club America and Cruz Azul hot on their tails, the Xolos will be aiming to pick up maximum points at home when they host Pachuca on Friday night. Greg Garza should fill in at his regular starting spot for a Tijuana side that has not lost since the Clausura season opener, and will try to help his defense post a third straight league cleansheet against a Pachuca attack that has scored five goals in its last two games. The Xolos lead America and Cruz Azul by just two points in the standings, so anything less than a win could see them end up tied on points for the league lead after the weekend.
While Garza and Corona are hoping to earn another victory this weekend, Tim Ream will look to get back on the field. Ream sustained a back injury in Bolton Wanderers’ game last Saturday, and missed the club’s midweek clash with Middlesborough as a result. If Ream returns to the fold this Saturday, he will attempt to help Bolton snap a three-game losing streak against a Brighton & Hove Albion team that is just above it in the Championship standings.
Another player in one of Europe’s second divisions that could use a win is Alfredo Morales. The 24-year-old Morales and 2. Bundesliga leaders Ingolstadt have hit a minor bump in their season after failing to win either of their past two matches, but will try and get back on track in Monday’s home game against 1860 Munich on Monday. Ingolstadt is six points clear of second place, but will still want to come out victorious as it attempts to move one step closer to gaining automatic promotion.
Here is who the Americans Abroad tango with this weekend: