Photo by Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
Following disappointing defeats last time out, two of the East’s elite are set to collide to headline MLS Week 12.
D.C. United and the New England Revolution currently maintain the top two spots in the Eastern Conference, but both are coming off losses to the Philadelphia Union and Sporting KC, respectively.
Out west, Sporting KC looks to build off the win over the Revs in a match-up with one of the conference’s elite, the Seattle Sounders, while the surging San Jose Earthquakes host an Orlando City team that impressed last time out.
Elsewhere, Jason Kreis and New York City FC face familiar Real Salt Lake, the LA Galaxy host the Houston Dynamo and Toronto FC battles the Portland Timbers.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s MLS action: Continue reading
By AYDIN REYHAN
Domestic action comes to a halt for the 2014-2015 season in England, Spain, Germany and France this weekend, signaling the final stand for those teams in danger of relegation.
In the English Premier League, with the top of the table already determined, the focus moves to action at the bottom of the table, with Hull City and Newcastle both in danger of relegation. Hull City hosts Manchester United and Newcastle hosts West Ham United, both on Sunday.
La Liga will see another battle of who stays in the top flight as Eibar and Almeria are both just two points behind Granada and Deportivo in the relegation battle. Eibar hosts bottom-team Cordoba while Almeria hosts Valencia, who could use a result to hold off Sevilla for a Champions League spot.
Finally in Germany, the battle for second place and the battle for relegation are the two main courses of this weekend’s action, with six teams all battling to stay out of relegation and Borussia Mönchengladbach fighting to hold onto second place.
Here is what is happening in Europe’s top five leagues this weekend:
By RYAN TOLMICH
With Luis Figo and Michael van Praag opting to step aside to help support his bid, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein is hoping to shakeup the World Cup should he be elected FIFA President.
Prince Ali says that one change he hopes to make to FIFA involves upping World Cup participants from 32 to 36, with the AFC, CAF and CONCACAF all earning an additional berth. In addition, the plan would see CONMEBOL and OFC rise from 4.5 and 0.5 to five and one berths, respectively.
“[I will make a] commitment to extend the number of teams in the World Cup from 32 to 36 teams as soon as possible,” Prince Ali said. “Ideally in time for the 2018 World Cup.”
Prince Ali’s campaign now makes him the sole competitor to the incumbent Sepp Blatter following Figo and van Praag’s decision to step aside and throw their name behind the challenger.
Here are some more news and notes to kick off your Friday morning: Continue reading
photo by Robert Mayer/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
The search for a stadium in Miami has not been easy, and is why David Beckham is reportedly considering partnering up with the city’s biggest university.
The Miami Herald reported late on Thursday that Beckham, MLS commissioner Don Garber and University of Miami president Donna Shalala will meet Friday in the South Florida metropolis to talk about the possibilities of joining forces to build a football-soccer stadium. The venue would serve as the home of both Beckham’s proposed MLS franchise and the UM football team, and Shalala recently said a new stadium for the latter would be in the 40,000- to 44,000-seat range.
Shalala, who is a member of the U.S. Soccer Federation board of directors, would have to help UM’s football team find a way to break a 17-year lease with Sun Life Stadium in order to make the partnership with Beckham happen. Beckham, in turn, would have to assist in pinpointing a suitable location that both parties and local government would be happy with.
“David, (and partners Marcelo Claure and Simon Fuller) are making progress toward bringing an MLS club to Miami-Dade County,” Beckham’s group told the Miami Herald via a statement: “We’re in the process of identifying viable sites and are entertaining a number of options. We look forward to sharing positive news with our fans soon.”
By IVES GALARCEP
With Memorial Day kicking off this weekend, one of the final weekends of the spring has some promising MLS action on the menu.
Episode 207 of The SBI Show looks ahead to this weekend’s MLS action, including the big Eastern Conference clash between New England and D.C. United, as well as Jason Kreis’ return to Rio Tinto Stadium as New York City FC faces Real Salt Lake.
Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss Jermaine Jones poor showing on Wednesday, Jozy Altidore’s injured hamstring, and much more.
Give Episode 207 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:
photo by Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
Mired in a rough stretch that has seen them score three times in five games, the LA Galaxy are set to receive a big boost in the attack.
Robbie Keane returned to Galaxy training on Wednesday after missing the last seven games with a groin strain, and could be in uniform for Friday’s home tilt against the Houston Dynamo. The 34-year-old striker’s absence has been felt during that stretch, as LA has just six times while compiling a 2-2-3 record.
“I’m feeling very good, looking forward to getting back,” Keane told reporters. “It was nice to get back the last two days, back in practice with the lads. So far, so good. … No pain, not at the moment.
“We have to see, the next couple of days. (I’m) certainly looking for minutes on Friday. I think you all know me well enough now that I don’t enjoy weekends off. I prefer to be playing.”
The Galaxy’s Designated Player has played in four games this season, scoring twice.
Here are more notes from around MLS:
By RYAN TOLMICH
When the schedule for this summer’s International Champions Cup was released, there was one game that was left to be determined. Plans for that game have now been finalized.
The San Jose Earthquakes will host Manchester United on July 21 at the California Memorial Stadium. The matchup will be the second to be hosted at the stadium in as many years following last season’s clash between Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
“The Earthquakes have competed in nearly every major venue in the Bay Area and now we are excited to play at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley,” said Earthquakes President Dave Kaval. “To be able to play a well-known and respected team such as Manchester United at this great venue is a tremendous opportunity for our club and our fans.”
In addition to the Manchester United match, the Earthquakes will also host Club America, who will travel to Avaya Stadium on July 14. The tournament will also feature the LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Chelsea, Paris-Saint Germain, Barcelona, Fiorentina and Porto.
Take a look at the updated International Champions Cup schedule below: Continue reading
By DAN KARELL
A man who FC Barcelona refers to as the “architect” of their success over the past 15 years has announced that he’s leaving the club for a new challenge.
Xavi confirmed reports at a press conference in Barcelona on Thursday, announcing that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season to sign with Qatari club Al-Sadd, the former club of fellow Spanish National Team legend Raul.
”I feel that I need to leave,” Xavi told reporters, via the AP. ”I am 35 and I have spent 17 seasons here. I think it is the moment to leave.”
In 17 years with Barcelona’s first team, Xavi has helped lead the club to an incredible 23 trophies, including eight La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League titles. Xavi can take his personal trophy account to 25 with both the Copa Del Rey and Champions League still up for grabs. He holds the record for most appearances at the club with 866 including friendly matches.
”The only thing left is to win the last two finals,” Xavi said. ”This finale is special for me, spectacular. The script couldn’t be better.”
Xavi will have one last chance to say good bye to Barcelona fans this Saturday in the final home league match against Deportivo La Coruña. According to multiple reports, Xavi was close to joining New York City FC after Spain’s disastrous World Cup in Brazil before then-newly hired head coach Luis Enrique called Xavi up and convinced him to stay.
Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday: