Benny Feilhaber Sporting Kansas City 62

MLS Week 8: The SBI Rewind

Benny Feilhaber turned in another monstrous performance for Sporting Kansas City, the Philadelphia Union looked awful, and more SBI thoughts from Week 8 in MLS.

MLS: Montreal Impact at New England Revolution

CONCACAF denies Impact appeal; Bush to miss second leg of CCL final

Evan Bush has led the Montreal Impact in goal since the beginning of the CONCACAF Champions League, but he will miss out on the final and most crucial game of the tournament.

Fabian Johnson Borussia Moenchengladbach 7

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

A trio of players in the Americans Abroad contingent finished April with noteworthy outings, including Fabian Johnson and Alejandro Bedoya.

MLS Week 8: The SBI Rewind

Benny Feilhaber Sporting Kansas City 62

photo by Peter G. Aiken/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

Week 8 of the MLS season had plenty of interesting developments. Both on and off the field.

From commissioner Don Garber talking with certainty about expanding beyond 24 teams to seeing two routs and an eight-goal thriller, Week 8 was plenty eventful. There were also some real standout individual performances, including a two-goal outing from Sporting Kansas City Benny Feilhaber that showed that his international career might not be over just yet.

It was not all good, however. The Philadelphia Union returned to their struggling ways in a lopsided and embarrassing loss to the Columbus Crew that raised concerns over whether players might already be giving up on the season.

Here is what SBI took away from Week 8:

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer | 4 Comments

SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Matt Polster

MLS: Chicago Fire at San Jose Earthquakes

Photo by Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

By AARON CRANFORD

Matt Polster is making a name for himself in the Chicago Fire midfield after another solid outing in his team’s 1-0 win vs. New York City FC.

For the second time this season, Polster is recognized as SBI MLS Rookie of the Week. He earned it in Week 4 when the 21-year-old rookie completed 83% of his passes. This time out, the former Southern Illinois University Edwardsville midfielder produced a completion rate of 87% — executing 81 out of his 93 passes on the day.

Polster also attempted two shots on goal but was unable to find his first in MLS. The rookie has started five games in a row since being subbed on in Chicago’s opening loss to the LA Galaxy on March 6.

The Fire midfielder beat out Colorado Rapids defender Axel Sjoberg and NYCFC forward Khiry Shelton for this week’s honors.

What did you think of Polster’s performance? Which rookie stood out to you in MLS Week 8?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Chicago Fire | 2 Comments

USL Week 6: A Look Back

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Photo by Rochester Rhinos

By ADAM TROXTELL

A home crowd only added to the Rochester Rhinos’ hot start to the season on Sunday.

A goal on either side of halftime took the Rhinos easily past New York Red Bulls II, 2-0 in their home opener to keep them unbeaten through six games. They trail Richmond Kickers in the Eastern Conference on goal difference alone as the Rhinos’ 20th anniversary season comes into full swing.

Alex Dixon scored his third goal of the season in the 40th minute to draw first blood. The initial shot from Tyler Rudy at the top of the box was saved before Dixon pounced on the rebound from 10 yards out.

Jonathan Mendoza added a second in the 67th minute. Rudy was again the catalyst, taking the ball off of NYRB II forward Daniel Bedoya to start the move. Eventually, the ball made its way to Colin Rolfe, who played Mendoza inside the left of the box before he cut inside and sent a low finish to the far side.

FC Montreal is next in line to test the Rhinos’ unbeaten record on Saturday. NYRB II will try to snap a four-game winless streak at home against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday.

Here are some more recaps from this weekend’s USL action:

Continue reading »

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NWSL Week 3: A Look Back

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Photo by the Chicago Red Stars

By CAITLIN MURRAY

The third week of the National Women’s Soccer League was the last chance for U.S. Women’s National Team players to step away on a high note as they prepare for the Women’s World Cup this summer.

With that on the line, some players that could use the biggest boosts as the jostle for a USWNT starting spot delivered: Christen Press again scored a huge brace, Amy Rodriguez scored a game-winner and Julie Johnston made a crucial goal-line save.

Just the same, the talent that will stick around for the summer provided some of the best highlights, including Jessica McDonald scoring a couple of the best goals from the slate of teams that were denied points this week.

Here is a look back at this week’s NWSL action:

Continue reading »

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SBI MLS Team of the Week: Toronto FC

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Photo by Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

In the midst of a four-game losing streak heading into Sunday’s contest, Toronto FC was in need of a victory.

TFC got exactly that Sunday with a commanding performance in a visit to Orlando City, earning a 2-0 victory to claim SBI MLS Team of the Week.

Facing plenty of pressure from an Orlando City side that dominated possession through the opening half, TFC remained rigid and tough, features that had been lacking in recent weeks. When given the chance, Jozy Altidore proved clinical by scoring both TFC goals, leading the way in a dominant second half that saw TFC do well in holding on to snag a well-earned three points.

The performance was enough to earn TFC honors as SBI MLS Team of the Week, beating out the Columbus Crew and New England Revolution for this week’s honors.

What did you think of TFC’s performance? Which team stood out to you this past weekend?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Toronto FC, SBI MLS Team of the Week | 4 Comments

Revs midfielder Scott Caldwell enjoys banner day vs. RSL

Scott Caldwell-Jermaine Jones (USA Today Images)

Photo by Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports

By CARL SETTERLUND

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — When New England Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones proclaimed club teammate Scott Caldwell as his U.S. Men’s National Team successor earlier in April, most people probably brushed it off as a mix of hyperbole and fondness for an unheralded member of the team.

Jones might not have been wildly off the mark, though, as the Revs’ unsung defensive midfielder has continued his stellar form from the 2014 MLS Cup playoffs into the 2015 season.

On Sunday against Real Salt Lake, the player behind the scenes got a little closer to the action as Caldwell picked up an assist and, more notably, his first MLS goal in a 4-0 rout at Gillette Stadium.

“It’s definitely not the first thing on my mind each game,” said Caldwell, who is better known as the player who does the dirty work to free up Lee Nguyen, and often Jermaine Jones, in front of him.

“It was a good feeling definitely to get that monkey of my back, but it was more important just to get the three points, and it was a great team performance the whole night,” Caldwell said. Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- New England Revolution | 2 Comments

Red Bulls midfield embraces freedom to create more attacking success

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Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

For a majority of their unbeaten start, much has been made of the defensive prowess of the New York Red Bulls midfield and the constant pressure they apply on the defensive end. However, Sunday’s performance against the LA Galaxy was yet another reminder that the Red Bulls unit has the ability to get forward as well, even its goal came via a lucky bounce.

In Sunday night’s 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy, it was Felipe that proved to be the Red Bulls goalscorer, etching his name as the sixth different Red Bull to find the back of the net in as many games.

With the goal, Felipe joins Beadley Wright-Phillips, Mike Grella, Lloyd Sam, Sacha Kljestan and Damien Perinelle in this list of Red Bulls goalscorers, demonstrating once again that the team’s midfield group can do much more than pressure the opposition.

While the group’s pressing style remains its calling card, Felipe and co. also take the opportunity to get forward and contribute on the attacking end, something that paid major dividends in Felipe’s positioning on the Red Bulls goal.

“We’ve been working on the defensive part, but that time I followed the action,” Felipe said of his finish, one that saw a blocked shot bounce off his face in the perfect example of right place, right time. “The ball came right to my head. That was the goal. I was completely lucky, but the important thing is that I scored. I don’t score many.” Continue reading »

Posted in MLS- New York Red Bulls | 1 Comment

European Weekend Rewind: Bayern grabs Bundesliga crown; Chelsea inches closer to title; and more

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By AYDIN REYHAN

In England, Chelsea inched ever closer to a Premier League title, while the Bundesliga saw the crowning of its own champion in the form of Bayern Munich.

Chelsea moved one step nearer to claiming the Premier League crown thanks to a 0-0 draw against Arsenal. As a result, Chelsea need just six points to claim the trophy.

Bayern did just that over the weekend, snagging the Bundesliga title thanks to Wolfsburg’s 1-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Juventus will have to wait a bit longer to clinch their own domestic crown after falling to Torino on Sunday.

Here is everything that went down in Europe’s best leagues this weekend:

ENGLAND

Chelsea is now just six points away from the title as they managed a scoreless-draw away at the Emirates against Arsenal. Arguably, the Blues were denied two penalties in the first half so the scoreline is more than fair along with the chances created by the Gunners.

 

Everton taught Manchester United a lesson as they scored three unanswered goals in an emphatic 3-0 victory. James McCarthy, John Stones and Kevin Mirallas all made sure that this game would be one to remember for midtable Everton, as Man United has now dropped to fourth as they remain on 65 points.

Manchester City edged past Aston Villa by a score of 3-2 to push themselves back into second for the time being. Sergio Aguero and Alexander Kolarov put the home side up only to see their lead vanish thanks to strikes from Tom Cleverley and Carlos Sanchez. Fernandinho was able to come up huge in the 89th minute with a sensational volley after controlling the ball with his chest to create space after a corner.

Here are the results from the Premier League this weekend:

Southampton 2-2 Tottenham

Burnley 0-1 Leicester

Palace 0-2 Hull

Newcastle 2-3 Swansea

QPR 0-0 West Ham

Stoke 1-1 Sunderland

West Brom 0-0 Liverpool

Man City 3-2 Aston Villa

Everton 3-0 Man United

Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea

SPAIN

Barcelona blanked Espanyol 2-0 on the road in the Catalan Derby with strikes from Neymar and Lionel Messi in the opening 45 minutes. The sour note of the match was the questionable red card shown to Jordi Alba which was followed with a red given to the home side’s Hector Moreno in the final minutes. Alba was ejected in the 54th minute which means the hosts had 36 minutes to use their one-man advantage but were unable to do so.

Real Madrid remembered that they lost 2-0 at Celta Vigo last year, ensuring this weekend’s result was to be much different. They did allow goals from Nolito and Santi Mina, but that did not matter much since Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez and a Javier Hernandez brace ended the matter with a 4-2 scoreline. With this win, Real Madrid stills its second with 79 points, just two behind Barcelona.

Antoine Griezmann continued his scorching league-form with a brace in Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 win over Elche. Raul Garcia hit home the other in between his two strikes. Atleti sits in third with 72 points.

Here are the results in La Liga this weekend:

Cordoba 0-1 Bilbao

Espanyol 0-2 Barca

Atletico 3-0 Elche

Getafe 0-1 Levante

Sociedad 0-0 Villarreal

Malaga 1-1 Deportivo

Almeria 2-0 Eibar

Sevilla 2-0 Rayo

Celta Vigo 2-4 Real Madrid

Valencia-Granada (Monday)

GERMANY

Bayern Munich won their third-straight Bundesliga title with a 1-0 home-win over Hertha Berlin. Bastian Schweinsteiger hit home the game’s only goal inside 80 minutes. With Wolfsburg losing at Moenchengladbach, the deficit stayed at the increased amount of 16 points, which is impossible to overcome with only four game left to be played.

 

Borussia Moenchengladbach cut Wolfsburg’s deficit in first down to four by defeating them, 1-0, at home courtesy of Max Kruse’s 90th-minute winner. With four games remaining, finishing in second is nowhere near out of the question.

Hoffenheim is now only two points out of 6th (Europa League qualifying spot) after winning, 2-1, on the road against Hannover. With Augsburg dropping the points this week, confidence to gain that position is high for the game-winners.

Here are the results from the Bundesliga this weekend:

Mainz 2-0 Schalke

Dortmund 2-0 Frankfurt

Koln 1-1 Leverkusen

Hamburg 3-2 Augsburg

Hannover 1-2 Hoffenheim

Stuttgart 2-2 Freiburg

Bayern 1-0 Berlin

Paderborn 2-2

Moenchengladbach 1-0 Wolfsburg

ITALY

Juventus lost the derby against Torino on the road by a score of 2-1. Andrea Pirlo opened the scoring for the visitors before Matteo Darmian and former Old Lady player Fabio Quagliarella completed the comeback. This was the first time Torino earned all three points against their rivals in 20 years. Juve still sits atop Serie A with a 14 point lead.

Napoli made sure Sampdoria would not catch up to them in fourth with a 4-2 victory in front of their home fans.  Lorenzo Insigne and Manolo Gabbiadini each hit once for the hosts with Gonzalo Higuain’s double completing their scoring. Raul Albiol’s own-goal and Luis Muriel’s strike made some noise for the visitors.

Fiorentina missed the chance to jump into fifth after their 3-1 home defeat against Cagliari. Duje Cop hit a brace while Diego Farias completed the scoring in the final minute. The hosts found the back of the net through Alberto Gilardino inside the 75th.

Here are the results from the Serie A this weekend:

Udinese 2-1 AC Milan

Inter 2-1 Roma

Atalanta 2-2 Empoli

Genoa 3-1 Cesena

Hellas Verona 3-2 Sassuolo

Lazio 1-1 Chievo

Parma 1-0 Palermo

Torino 2-1 Juve

Fiorentina 1-3 Cagliari

Napoli 4-2 Sampdoria

FRANCE

Paris-Saint Germain were once again without Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is continuing to serve his suspension. However, allowing Edinson Cavani to play centrally in the 4-3-3 paid dividends as they defeated Lille 6-1 with the Uruguayan scoring twice and assisting once. PSG still sits second with 68 points, level with Lyon, with a game in-hand.

Lyon won, 4-2, at Reims to continue the Ligue 1 chase to the title as a two-way race against PSG. Corentin Tolisso, Alexandre Lacazette, Clinton Njie and an own-goal Mickael Tacalfred brought the points back home with the visitors. With four games remaining, these two still have it all to play for.

Monaco is now in third with 62 points after a thrilling 3-0 sweep at Lens. Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, Anthony Martial and Bernardo Silva made sure of all three points.

Here is what happened in Ligue 1 this weekend:

Marseille 3-5 Lorient

PSG 6-1 Lille

Bordeaux 1-1 Metz

Caen 0-2 Guingamp

Evian 1-2 Bastia

Rennes 2-1 Nice

Toulouse 1-1 Nantes

Saint Etienne 1-0 Montpellier

Lens 0-3 Monaco

Reims 2-4 Lyon

PSG-Mets (Game in-hand to be played on Tuesday)

 

Posted in European Soccer | 1 Comment