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Lampard officially begins his tenure with NYCFC

With his contract officially beginning on July 1, Frank Lampard participated in training with New York City FC for the first time Wednesday

Apr 17, 2015; Harrison, NJ, USA;  New York Red Bulls defender Kemar Lawrence (92) handles the ball during the first half against the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

SBI Spotlight: Confident Kemar Lawrence shining for Red Bulls

Young Jamaican left back Kemar Lawrence has been a revelation for the New York Red Bulls this season.

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Ream, Zusi embracing return to USMNT ahead of Gold Cup

After going through periods of adversity, Graham Zusi and Tim Ream are embracing their returns to the U.S. Men’s National Team for this summer’s Gold Cup

Lampard officially begins his tenure with NYCFC

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By MICHAEL PENG

PURCHASE, N.Y. — There weren’t any special treatments nor fanfare for Frank Lampard Wednesday, just a short round of applause from his coaches and teammates to officially welcome him to the club before they all quickly got down to business.

Lampard then threw on an orange pinnie over his new sky blue shirt — this time of MLS variety — and finally took part in soccer-related activities with New York City FC for the first time during the club’s training session Wednesday at SUNY Purchase.

“We’ve been waiting and waiting as you all already know, as well as everyone involved with the club,” defender Shay Facey said. “Fans and everyone has been really excited. Today he’s here, and I’m sure a lot of the guys after training will be talking to him and getting as much out of him as they can.”

Lampard, though unavailable to the media Wednesday, participated in 8-on-8 and possession-keeping drills with his new teammates throughout the session. And to no one’s surprise, it appeared to be a seamless transition.

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SBI Spotlight: Confident Kemar Lawrence shining for Red Bulls

photo by Jim O’Connor/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

HANOVER, N.J. — Transitioning from one leadership group to another, the New York Red Bulls took a new and economic approach this past offseason. While the new regime faced plenty of criticism for that strategy, it still managed to make a first great find, signing a promising prospect who has carved out a starting role and impressed with a string of strong performances for club and country that includes a recent match-up against Lionel Messi.

Jamaican international Kemar Lawrence was acquired by the Red Bulls a couple of weeks into the season, signing via a transfer from Harbour View FC of the Caribbean island’s first division. Lawrence had spent part of the preseason with New York, but was only added to the MLS outfit’s roster after starting left back Roy Miller sustained an injury that ruled him out for a couple of weeks.

Boasting the trademark Jamaican confidence, but with a serious dose of humility and maturity, Lawrence made the most of his early opportunity. The 22-year-old speedster filled in for Miller on the left side of the defense in the Red Bulls’ second game of the year, and half season later, Lawrence has not looked back.

Lawrence has not only supplanted Miller from the starting left back role he has held for three years – getting the nod in 12 of New York’s 16 games – but Lawrence has also shown that he has all the tools to develop into something special in the future. Lawrence is quick, aggressive, tough, fearless, and, of course, full of self belief, as he demonstrated in a recent Copa America outing against Argentina and Messi, widely regarded as the world’s best player.

“It’s normally how I would prepare like on a regular day against any player,” Lawrence told SBI of going up against Messi. “I was just thinking about really forcing him down the line, letting him hit some crosses with his right foot, then I’ll take it from there. Obviously we knew he wasn’t going to go on his right foot, so that was really tough, but most of the times I tried not to get caught up with him.

“I just let him play his game, and it kind of helped because he wants you to come at him, he wants you to tackle him, he wants a lot of people to be rushing him because I think he has his best games at that moment. Me not getting clinged onto him, me not rushing him every minute I think it paid off best in my game, so he just kept playing across or playing back. He didn’t really want to dribble me or anything.”

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SBI MLS Rookie of the Month (June): Cyle Larin

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Photo by Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

 

By MICHAEL WALLACE

Cyle Larin has continued to justify his selection as the first pick in the 2015 MLS Draft in the buildup of the 2015 Gold Cup.

The speedy Canadian international scored in both of Orlando City SC’s wins in the month of June, blazing his way to earn SBI’s MLS Rookie of the Month crown.

Larin came off the bench on June 6 in the 66th minute against Chicago Fire to score the game-winning-goal on a rocket from outside the box with eight minutes to play. Larin also helped his side to a 2-0 win over Colorado Rapids on June 24, breaking a 0-0 tie after 62 minutes.

The 21-year-old forward has netted six goals for Orlando this season, and continued his blistering form with two goals in two appearances for Canada this month. Larin’s goal tally is level with the likes of David Villa, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Jozy Altidore in league play.

Larin earned his second consecutive SBI Rookie of the Month honor, beating out Fatai Alashe, Ignacio Maganto and Matt Polster.

What did you think of Larin’s performance? Which rookie stood out to you this month?

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SBI MLS Player of the Month (June): David Ousted

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By MICHAEL WALLACE

June’s hottest team can thank the league’s hottest player for propelling them into first place in the West whil making some pretty spectacular stops along the way.

Goalkeeper David Ousted has been the undisputed catalyst behind Vancouver Whitecaps’ recent run of form, and, on a number of nights, the only reason the Whitecaps had secured points. His excellent form in June helped him earn SBI MLS Player of the Month honors.

The Danish keeper stopped not one but two Bradley Wright-Phillips penalty kicks en route to a 2-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls and made 17 saves over four games this month, conceding just four goals.

Ousted kept a clean sheet against the LA Galaxy on June 6—snapping their 29-game home unbeaten streak. In his latest performance, the 30-year-old made eight saves including the SBI MLS Save of the Week to end New England Revolution’s own 19-game home unbeaten streak.

Ousted beat out Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco, Philadelphia’s C.J. Sapong and San Jose’s Matias Perez Garcia for June honors.

What do you think of Ousted’s play in goal? Which player stood out the most to you last month?

Share your thoughts below.

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Reports: Jordan Morris has surgery to repair stress fracture

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By FRANCO PANIZO

An inopportune injury has ruled out any chance of seeing one of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s most promising youngsters at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Jordan Morris posted a picture on his Instagram on Tuesday with a caption saying that he was set to have surgery. Several reports came out in the following hours stating that Morris was going under the knife to repair a stress fracture in one of his legs.

While there is no official timetable for his recovery, the timing of the injury will make it highly unlikely he can recover from surgery in time to be one of the roster changes USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann can make to his Gold Cup roster after the group stage.

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Posted in College Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team, U.S. Men's Olympic Team | 12 Comments

SBI USWNT Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd

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Photo by Michael Chow/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH 

Just moments after it looked like a Germany penalty kick would be the cause of death for the U.S. Women’s National Team, a spot-kick finish proved to be the moment that the earned the Americans continued life and a spot in the Women’s World Cup final.

Carli Lloyd was the author of that decisive goal, and her cold-blooded finish combined with her late assist led the USWNT to a 2-0 victory over Germany in Tuesday’s Women’s World Cup semifinal. Lloyd’s performance also earner her SBI’s USWNT Woman of the Match award.

Lloyd’s calm demeanor on her penalty kick allowed her to rocket home a shot just minutes after seeing Germany miss in the same situation on the other end of the field. Then, with the USWNT holding onto a slim one-goal lead, Lloyd turned provider and sealed the victory by feeding substitute Kelley O’Hara.

The goal gives Lloyd her third in as many games. She won SBI’s Woman of the Match honors over O’Hara, Alex Morgan and Morgan Brian.

What did you think of Lloyd’s performance? How impressed were you with her penalty kick? Which USWNT player stood out to you the most in Tuesday’s semifinal?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in 2015 Women's World Cup, U.S. Women's National Team, Women's World Cup 2015 | 24 Comments

Ream, Zusi embracing return to USMNT ahead of Gold Cup

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Photo by Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

Having both experienced extended absences from the U.S. Men’s National Team, Tim Ream and Graham Zusi understand how hard it is to watch your teammates perform from afar. However, for the duo, that fact makes the inclusion on the roster for the upcoming Gold Cup just that much sweeter.

Both Ream and Zusi are among the 23 players called in to the U.S. Men’s National Team roster by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the upcoming Gold Cup, which begins on Tuesday. For Ream, the call-up represents just his second of 2015 following an 89th-minute cameo against Switzerland in Match, while Zusi has appeared just once for the USMNT since his inclusion on last summer’s World Cup roster.

For the duo, the call-up for the up represents much more than meets the eye. For one, it represents the opportunity to reunite with friends from across the U.S. Soccer landscape, while, on the other hand, it offers something much more important: a chance to once again demonstrate value with the national team.

“It feels fantastic. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in with the guys,” Zusi said. “Walking into the hotel and seeing some familiar faces, it was really nice. It’s been frustrating with a slew of injuries the last six months or so, but like I said, it feels great to be back.

“Personally, it would be a little bit of redemption,” added Ream. “Being back in here with this group of guys, a strong group, we want to win outright and get in the Confederations Cup and not worry about a play-in game. Like I said, it’s exciting being in here with this group of guys and going for a Gold Cup title.”

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Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team | 10 Comments

Red Bulls seeking Open Cup revenge vs. Cosmos

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By FRANCO PANIZO

HANOVER, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls are making no secret about it: They want to exact revenge on the New York Cosmos.

A year removed from an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to the Cosmos in U.S. Open Cup play, the Red Bulls are set for a rematch with the NASL club in the fifth round of the tournament on Wednesday. The Red Bulls will have the homefield advantage this time and are expected to field a lineup that more closely resembles their starting group.

Last year, then-head coach Mike Petke went with a reserve-filled unit against the Cosmos due to a combination of international absences, injuries and preferred approach. The result was an apathetic and humiliating loss at Shuart Stadium that infuriated the Red Bulls’ fan base and left the players with pain and a sour taste in their mouths.

“There’s a sense of revenge, that we need to win this game,” said centerback Matt Miazga, who started in last year’s fourth round match. “Obviously, at the start of the season (head coach Jesse Marsch) really made it a commitment to win this Open Cup, and that’s one of our goals. Now, the Cosmos are in our way, and we’re going to give it our all.

“I played in that game last year, and it did suck losing, 3-0, away at their place. Now, we’re back at home, and we’re going to look to win at home.”

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Posted in Featured, MLS- New York Red Bulls, New York Cosmos, U.S. Open Cup | 20 Comments