RSL Preview Collage

SBI MLS Season Preview: Real Salt Lake

With a new general manager and a host of core players departed, a new-look Real Salt Lake side looks to overcome the odds once again as they prepare for the 2015 MLS season.

DonGarberMLSSuperDraft2013 (Getty)

Don Garber: MLS can become ‘guinea pig’ for use of technology in soccer

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the league could be a “guinea pig” for new technologies in soccer, like instant video replays.

Orlando City Collage

SBI MLS Season Preview: Orlando City

Orlando City is ready to make its MLS debut, and boasts a strong roster led by Brazilian star Kaka and several top MLS veterans.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Real Salt Lake

RSL Preview Collage

By DAN KARELL

Even without Jason Kreis at the helm, Real Salt Lake didn’t look much different than it’s previous iteration.

With the likes of Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, and centerback pair Chris Schuler and Nat Borchers, RSL proved that they were still one of the best teams in the league, and backed it up with a third-place finish in the Western Conference.

After drawing the LA Galaxy at home in the Western Conference semifinals, head coach Jeff Cassar and RSL hit the road to try and advance to the finals, only to be clobbered, 5-0.

That game was a big turning point for the team.

Since then, many of the veterans of the team have been plucked away by the likes of the Portland Timbers (Borchers), New York City FC (Ned Grabavoy, Chris Wingert), and Toronto FC (Robbie Findley). General manager Garth Lagarway left for the Seattle Sounders.

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Don Garber: MLS can become ‘guinea pig’ for use of technology in soccer

DonGarber2 (Getty)

By CAITLIN MURRAY

When Don Garber spoke at a sports conference in Boston on Friday, the top question on tap was unsurprisingly about ongoing negotiations with the Major League Soccer players union. And Garber unsurprisingly had little to add to what has been said publicly already — he remains hopeful the upcoming season will start on time.

But Garber, the league’s commissioner, also hinted that MLS could see other changes in the future — if he gets his way — as he wants to position the league on the cutting edge in a sport that has resisted the introduction of new technologies.

“If I were king, we would have instant replay,” Garber said at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday. “We would have cameras on our players. We would be putting them in our goalposts. We would be having microphones on our field. Our guys would be wearing GoPro cameras.”

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SBI MLS Season Preview: Orlando City

Orlando City Collage

By MIKE GRAMAJO

After all of the hype and buildup, Orlando City is finally ready to take the field for its inaugural MLS campaign.

Orlando City will look to translate the club’s winning history from its USL days, and with the likes of Designated Player Kaka leading the way, the Lions have now shifted the focus on winning an MLS Cup as the league’s newest expansion side.

With head coach Adrian Heath, regarded as the most successful coach in the history of the USL after winning consecutive titles, at the helm, the Lions also bring a new flavor of soccer into MLS’ 20th season.

While the team has plenty of new faces, eight players from the 2014 USL season have made the jump to MLS: Kevin Molino, Darwin Ceren, Tyler Turner, Tommy Redding, Luke Boden, Harrison Heath, Rafael Ramos and Estrela.

Orlando City had a busy, and early, MLS offseason. Bringing in the likes of veteran players such as Aurelien Collin from Sporting KCand Amobi Okugo from Philadelphia Union, Orlando City has managed to build a competitive roster that has the potential to contend from the get-go.

Here’s a closer look at Orlando City leading up to the 2015 regular season: Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Orlando City | 11 Comments

Saturday European Rewind: Rooney fires Man United to win; Dortmund crushes Schalke; and more

Wayne Rooney celebrates after scoring

By ADAM TROXTELL

In search of goals, Manchester United turned to one of its most reliable sources in the past decade.

Wayne Rooney scored twice in the Red Devils 2-0 win against Sunderland, making him the first player in English Premier League history to score 10-or-more goals in 11 seasons. The goals came about 20 minutes apart in the second half, but they had been expected for much longer than that.

After surviving a spell of Sunderland dominance in the opening minutes, Man United totally bossed the game. The Black Cats were pinned back during the majority of the time and had to deal with nine shots on target.

The Red Devils were still unable to turn all of this into a goal, and as a result were about to replace Radamel Falcao. Just before that, the Colombian brought a long-ball down neatly in the box and was subsequently pulled down by John O’Shea.

Oddly it was another former Man United center back, Wes Brown, who was sent off in a decision that will surely be corrected by the FA. Regardless, Rooney dispatched the penalty for a 1-0 lead.

He then scored his first goal from open play since Dec. 26 when he headed in the rebound from Adnan Januzaj’s shot. With the win, Man United jumps over Arsenal into third place.

Elsewhere in Europe, a late effort from Borussia Dortmund sealed a win against rivals Schalke. Barcelona brushed Granada aside in La Liga play, and Lyon received a hit in its French league title fight.

Here is more from the action across Europe’s top leagues on Saturday:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | 1 Comment

The SBI Show: Episode 193 (CONCACAF Champions League, MLS labor talks, and more)

BenOlsen

 By IVES GALARCEP

The CONCACAF Champions League has long been a source of disappointment for Major League Soccer teams, and that same familiar storyline played out again on Thursday in Costa Rica with D.C. United’s destruction at the hands of Alajuelense.

Episode 193 of The SBI Show takes a look back at D.C. United’s 5-2 loss to the Costa Rican side, and digs into the continued issues MLS has with succeeding in CCL play. We also discuss Montreal’s impressive 2-2 tie with Pachuca.

Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss the MLS labor talks, and the likelihood of a strike, which is growing by the day as the two sides reach an apparent stalemate over free agency.

Give Episode 193 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:

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Posted in CONCACAF Champions League, Major League Soccer, Podcasts, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

SBI MLS Season Preview: Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers Collage

By FRANCO PANIZO

Caleb Porter’s reign in Portland started with so much promise, but the unexpected stumbling block that was the 2014 season has the club in need of a bounce-back year.

A slow start to the season and an unhealthy dose of defensive miscues ultimately proved to be too much for the Timbers during the 2014 campaign, as they missed out on the playoffs during the final weekend of the regular season. It was a large disappointment for the Rose City, and for a Portland team that had reached the Western Conference Finals just a year prior in Porter’s first season in charge.

With the aim being to get back into the stacked Western Conference’s elite, the Timbers have addressed what they feel are their areas of need while keeping most of the rest of the roster untouched. Continuity is something the club wanted even after last year’s struggles, and they have that with the likes of Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe and Fanendo Adi all returning.

Portland is currently dealing with a number of injuries to key players, however. Valeri, starting defensive midfielder Will Johnson and his backup Ben Zemanski will all miss at least the first couple of months of the season, leaving the Timbers to have find alternative methods to get by until they return.

That might make it seem like the club is in store for a third straight season in which it comes slowly out of the gates, but the Timbers believe they have the answers to getting off on the right foot en route to successfully returning to the postseason.

Here’s a closer look at the 2015 Portland Timbers:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Portland Timbers | 3 Comments