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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

Chelsea is looking to secure a fourth English Premier League title, while Hertha Berlin seeks Bundesliga safety in some of the Sunday’s best action.


Rapids surprise Galaxy to nab road draw

Alan Gordon’s header with 15 minutes left salvaged a draw for the LA Galaxy against the Colorado Rapids.

Agudelo-Davies-Bunbury Revs-Red Bulls 2015 (USA Today Images)

Davies, Bunbury push Revs past Red Bulls

The New England Revolution prevailed over the undermanned New York Red Bulls on Saturday night in a rematch of last year’s MLS Eastern Conference final series.

23 for 2015: Projecting the USMNT Gold Cup roster (April 2015 edition)

USMNT goal Mexico 31



There may have only been one U.S. Men’s National Team friendly in the month of April, but that isn’t stopping us from seriously shaking up our projection for the USMNT Gold Cup roster.

No, this isn’t an overreaction to Jordan Morris’ impressive showings against Mexico (for senior team and the U-23s), but rather an acknowledgment that Jurgen Klinsmann can make several roster changes within the Gold Cup (after the group stage) which will give him even more options beyond the initial roster he must name.

That means we can see more players given chances this summer than we had been projecting earlier.

Does that mean everybody who is worthy of a look will get one? Not quite. There is still plenty of depth all over, and there will be some good players left out.

With that in mind, here is the April projection of the USMNT Gold Cup roster (the squad we see Klinsmann taking):

Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Men's National Team, Uncategorized | 62 Comments

MLS announces changes to allocation, discovery processes



Major League Soccer announced its 2015 rule changes, and the focus was on player acquisitions, with the league modifying the allocation and discovery player acquisition mechanisms.

The changes go into effect as of today.

The allocation process is being consolidated into one system, combining the Designated Player allocation rankings, the weighted lottery and blind draw acquisition mechanisms, effectively barring a repeat of the hot-button Jermaine Jones signing.

The new system includes a public allocation player ranking list, picked by MLS club technical staffs and the league player personnel department.

MLS also modified the discovery process — the avenue to acquire players not on the allocation list or otherwise ineligible through other player acquisition processes.

Teams can put up to seven players on their discovery list and can modify the list at any time. Players are acquired through the discovery process on a first come, first serve basis.

However, in a new change, teams can offer $50,000 of allocation money to acquire a player that another team already has a claim on. That team must then either make the player a reasonable contract offer or accept the allocation money and give up rights to the player. Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer | 21 Comments

21 for New Zealand: Projecting the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster (April Edition)

U-20 USMNT starting XI vs. Trinidad and Tobago (Mexsport)



The final camp before Under-20 World Cup roster selections are due is in the books. Now, players just have to wait and hope they’ve made enough of an impression.

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos got one last up-close-and-personal look at a pool of his players this month with a camp in Austria that saw the Americans tie Qatar and beat Croatia. Ramos had a lot, but not all, of his first-choice players at his disposal, which allowed him to simultaneously fine-tune things and assess those youngsters still fighting desperately to grab one of the remaining World Cup spots.

Competition is heavy throughout the entire squad, but the midfield and defense are areas where Ramos will really have to make some tough decisions. Versatility could be key in helping land one of those final places on the squad, as well as getting first-team minutes, which several of Ramos’ MLS-based players are encouragingly getting right now at their clubs.

Ramos still has until next month to mull things over, but the date to submit rosters is fast approaching. With that, here is SBI’s latest projection of the 21 players that could make it to the World Cup in New Zealand:

Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Under-20 National Team, U.S. Youth National Teams, Under-20 World Cup | 19 Comments

Cosmos embrace playing in Brooklyn and compare surface to current home

Cosmos vs Ottawa0883


For over a century, the attractions of Coney Island have provided entertainment for the city of New York. From the famous Cyclone and Wonder Wheel to the hod dogs at the original Nathan’s, Coney Island has long had a flavor all its own.

On Saturday night, the area had an attraction unfamiliar with the theme parks of yesteryear: soccer.

The New York Cosmos played their first home game in the borough of Brooklyn Saturday night, taking down Ottawa Fury FC, 1-0, at MCU Park in Coney Island.

Away from the friendly confines of Hofstra and Shuart Stadium for the first time, the Cosmos’ foray into Brooklyn provided a new experience, one that head coach Giovanni Savarese was quick to embrace.

“I think it was an exciting night to play in Brooklyn in a stadium that was an interesting set-up with all of that stuff going around,” Savarese said.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to it, if it happens again, to be able to play in this place again.” Continue reading »

Posted in NASL, New York Cosmos | 2 Comments

Giovinco blast seals TFC win against Union


Photo by Bill Steicher / USA Today Sports


Toronto FC’s second straight win came in a seemingly relaxed manner.

It was the Philadelphia Union who did most of the running with the ball as TFC left PPL Park with a 1-0 victory. Possession never produced the desired result for the Union, who have just one win in their last five outings against Eastern Conference opposition.

Sebastian Giovinco secured the win for TFC with a free kick in the 34th minute. The Italian blasted a shot from well outside the 18-yard box and past a flailing John McCarthy for the winner.

Toronto used its smaller share of possession to blast three shots on target, opting for efficiency as the Union kept the visitors off of the ball for the majority of the afternoon. But that only produced a Cristian Maidana strike that rattled the cross bar and a Fernando Aristeguieta headed goal that was ruled out for offside.

Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Philadelphia Union, MLS- Toronto FC | Leave a comment

Keita winner against Scorpions keeps Armada undefeated at home

Armada Scorpions 05022015

Photo by Jacksonville Armada FC


Thanks to a heroic stoppage-time winner from Jacksonville Armada FC substitute Alhassane Keita, the defending champion San Antonio Scorpions remain winless five weeks into the NASL Spring Season.

The two took jabs at each other in the opening moments, as Marcos Flores assisted Pascal Millien in the third minute, giving Armada FC the early lead.

However, once again, the NASL offered fans a splendid goal, and this time, it came from the effort of Omar Cummings. The forward found the immediate answer in the eighth minute for the Scorpions after hitting an acrobatic scissor-kick, which found its way through many Armada FC defenders.

After two halves of physical play, which saw a total of eight yellow cards dished out on the night, the decider finally came in extra time, and Keita was the man of the moment in Jacksonville. Continue reading »

Posted in NASL | Leave a comment

Novo nets for RailHawks in draw with Rowdies


Photo by Rob Kinnan / Carolina RailHawks


CARY, N.C. — While Carolina RailHawks forward Nacho Novo continues to shine in 2015, the Tampa Bay Rowdies remained strong and resilient to force a 1-1 draw in front of 4,042 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park.

After sitting out the previous two games for the RailHawks with a nagging groin injury, Novo took little time to find his scoring boots as he grabbed his third of the season. He is tied with San Antonio Scorpions forward Omar Cummings for the league lead. He was quick to point the finger, though, at Tiyi Shipalane, who made the play happen.

“I think we should play more out to him,” Novo told reporters after the draw. “I think we made one pass over, and he made that one-on-one, and this where the goal is coming from, but then after, we just stopped playing for him. From what I watch, we should play more on him, sharper, so he can get one-on-one because always he’s looked dangerous.”

The Rowdies found the equalizer almost 10 minutes after Novo’s opening goal when Georgi Hristov combined with Martin Nunez, who drilled the ball into the back of the net. Although both sides created a flurry of chances for themselves, neither could find a second on the night.

Late in the second half, Hristov was sent packing after receiving a straight red card. The assist-man looked to step on the head of RailHawks midfielder Wells Thompson. Wven with the one-man advantage, the Cary side could not find the crucial game-winner at home. Continue reading »

Posted in NASL | Leave a comment

Defense and ‘soft goals’ led to Dynamo defeat in Texas Derby

MLS: FC Dallas at Houston Dynamo

Photo by Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports


The old adage is that defense wins championships, but right now, the Houston Dynamo defense is not living up to its billing.

The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas met for the first of three games this season with FC Dallas defeating the Dynamo in a 4-1 rout. After starting off the season with a solid showing in the back, Houston has now conceded eight goals in two games.

Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle was quick to bring up the defense as the main cause for their most recent defeat.

“We gave up soft goals…as good as their finishing was, there’s no denying that,” Coyle said. “We feel like we could have defended those goals a lot better, and I’ve said that to the boys.”

One talking point coming out of the game was the tactical changes that have been made recently to the team. Houston has started playing with a four-man midfield, as opposed to the five-player midfield that they used during their more solid defensive performances. Coyle believes that his tactical changes had little to do with the loss and again brings it all back to defense.

“If we had defended better it would not have mattered if we were in a 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-5-1 or  3-5-2. A lot of people like to make a lot of things out of systems and shape and everything else.” Coyle said before adding, “This game is about players, them being on top of their game, and we have to accept that a number of our players were not last night.”

Even though he mentioned that some players were not at the top of their game, he realizes that at the end of the day it was a team defeat, “As a team, and I say that as a team because we all stick together, we didn’t defend well enough.”

He even placed some extra blame on himself and is more than willing to make changes if needed.

“As a head coach, I take responsibility as I always do,” he said. “And if I feel like we need another man in midfield then I am more than prepared to do it. Every game brings different challenges and a different set of problems in terms of the opposition. So we will look closely at San Jose, as we always do, and look at putting forth the best team available.”

However for Coyle this defeat coupled with another game on Tuesday is something that can be turned into a positive, especially since he feels as if the team, as a whole, owes something to the fans.

“You have got take this disappointing result, take your medicine, take the slap on the teeth which it is, and we have to bounce back quickly,” he said. “When you’ve lost any game, [the quick turnaround] is a great opportunity to put the smile back on the fans’ faces, because that is what we care about.

“We want to make sure that when they come to [the game] – that they’re enjoying their experience. Certainly, we did not do that against Dallas. There’s no getting away from that, and as a group I feel like we let the fans down. We will try to give them a good performance [on Tuesday] and something that they can be pleased about.”

In the end, Owen Coyle realizes that it is still early in the season and his goal for the team has not changed at all.

“We still have the same ambition as we did when we started the season,” he said, “and that’s to make the playoffs. This defeat hit us hard, of course it did, but we know we’re better than what we showed.”

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Houston Dynamo | Tagged | 2 Comments