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MLS All-Star Game: SBI Live Commentary

Follow along with SBI as the MLS All-Stars take on Tottenham in Wednesday night’s MLS All-Star Game.

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MLS Ticker: Union sign Swiss international Barnetta; Orlando City adds Mateos, Winter; and more

The Philadelphia Union signed Switzerland star Tranquillo Barnetta, Orlando City added David Mateos and Adrian Winter and more in MLS this Wednesday.

Pablo Mastroeni Colorado Rapids 15

Who should the MLS All-Stars start vs. Tottenham?

SBI projects the MLS All-Stars’ Starting XI for Wednesday’s clash against Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

MLS All-Star Game: SBI Live Commentary

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By RYAN TOLMICH

After topping Bayern Munich in last season’s mid-summer event, the MLS All-Stars take the field again Wednesday night against Tottenham. (Fox Sports 1, 9 p.m.)

Led by Kaka, Clint Dempsey and David Villa, the MLS All-Star’s will be looking to make it two straight victories against foreign opposition. In their way will be a Tottenham side featuring up and coming star Harry Kane as well as U.S. Men’s National Team speedster DeAndre Yedlin.

SBI will be providing live commentary on tonight’s final so please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Tonight’s SBI Live Commentary is after the jump):

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, MLS All-Star Game | 6 Comments

MLS Ticker: Union sign Swiss international Barnetta; Orlando City adds Mateos, Winter; and more

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By AARON CRANFORD

Taking advantage of Targeted Allocation Money, the Philadelphia Union announced Wednesday that they had opened their wallet for some Swiss talent.

The Union acquired Tranquillo Barnetta on a free transfer after the 30-year-old had made 30 appearances for Schalke 04 in the 2014-15 Bundesliga season, assisting five and scoring three goals.

The club used TAM, which has helped teams from across MLS bring in additional star talent by allowing each club to use up to $100,000 per year for five years in additional spending money on players outside of the normal salary budget. The Union are not the first team to take advantage of the new rule, as the LA Galaxy were able to bring in Giovani Dos Santos, the Montreal Impact signed Didier Drogba and more have already used TAM to help build their 2015 squad.

“To add a player of Tranquillo’s quality will help us tremendously in what we’re trying to build,” Union technical director Chris Albright said. “He’s a player with a real pedigree who chose to continue his career here in Philadelphia over other options. His experience and leadership will also be a great addition to our group as we push for the playoffs and make a run at The Open Cup.”

Barnetta has made 75 appearances for the Switzerland national team, with his last call-up coming in Oct. 2014. He has been a member of the nation’s last three World Cup runs, including the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Here are some more notes in MLS this Wednesday: Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, MLS All-Star Game, MLS- Orlando City, MLS- Philadelphia Union, MLS- Toronto FC | 13 Comments

Abby Wambach plans to play in 2016 Olympics

Abby Wambach WOTM USA Nigeria (Jane Gershovich)

 

BY COLE KELLOGG

The all-time leading goal scorer in international soccer has revealed she has no plans to quit the national team before next summer.

Abby Wambach, while speaking on a morning show in her hometown of Rochester, New York, said that she hopes to be a part of the U.S. Women’s National Team that competes in the 2016 Olympics.

“I’m planning on playing next summer in Rio, but I gotta let my body recover, because that’s the other thing about playing on artificial surface,” Wambach said. “Seven games is a lot of games, and it wasn’t a long period of time we were playing over. So my body took some hits, and I’m trying to recover. Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Women's National Team | 17 Comments

Midday Ticker: Mourinho blasts Benitez; Tottenham eyes ‘Chicharito'; and more

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BY COLE KELLOGG

Jose Mourinho took Rafa Benitez’s wife to task after her recent comments criticizing the Chelsea manager.

The Special One put Benitez on full blast after her critique. “I think she needs to occupy her time, and if she takes care of her husband’s diet she will have less time to speak about me,” said Mourinho. “The only club where her husband replaced me was at Inter Milan, where in six months he destroyed the best team in Europe at the time.”

Benitez has chosen to not add more fuel to this fire, not engaging reporters when asked about the comments while in China for Real Madrid’s preseason tour.

Benitez’s wife sparked this battle of words in her interview with Spanish newspaper La Region. “We tidy up his messes,” said Maria Benitez on the phenomenon.

The Chelsea manager is known for his ability to work the media, and this outburst is just the latest in a long line of fiery comments made against his opposing managers in world football.

Here are some more news and notes from this Wednesday afternoon: Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Who should the MLS All-Stars start vs. Tottenham?

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By COLE KELLOGG

The 2015 MLS All-Star roster has had an astounding amount of turnover in the past week.

Fans of the league were initially up in arms over Don Garber’s inclusion of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, two European superstars who had yet to play in MLS at the time of Garber’s selection, as the Commissioner’s Picks. But both Lampard and Gerrard have since picked up respective injuries and will not be participating on Wednesday.

Also sidelined by injuries are a few of the league’s top-earners in Michael Bradley and Robbie Keane. New England’s Chris Tierney will also be kept out by an injury, while MVP-candidate Sebastian Giovinco has also been ruled out and will be replaced by Toronto FC teammate Jozy Altidore.

The MLS All-Star head coach Pablo Mastroeni has opted to bring in Ethan Finlay, Gyasi Zardes, Dax McCarty, Sam Cronin and Waylon Francis as replacements, as well as Clint Irwin to fill in as the team’s third goalkeeper.

But who will Mastroeni start vs. Tottenham? Here is the MLS All-Star lineup we could see taking the field:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS All-Star Game | 35 Comments

Landon Donovan open to continue coaching in future

photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Landon Donovan had his first coaching experience on Tuesday, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that he is considering doing it again.

Donovan led the MLS Homegrowns in their match vs. Club America’s U-20s on Tuesday night as part of MLS All-Star Week. His team lost on penalty kicks after surrendering its first-half lead, but not even the defeat could take away from how much fun Donovan had.

In fact, he had such a great time on the sidelines that you should not rule out seeing him there again in the near future.

“This was a week to sort of dip my toe in and see how it felt. I really had a great time,” said the 33-year-old Donovan. “I don’t know what the future holds. It depends, obviously, on a lot of things, but I really enjoyed it. If I get another opportunity, then maybe I’ll consider it, yeah.”

Donovan, wearing a polo shirt and some athletic pants after suggestions from his wife, admitted to have a little anxiety on the bench. A former player who was very determined to focus on the things he could control during his historic career, Donovan found it tough not being able to go out on the field to make an impact. He sat on the bench for much of the first half, but got up and became more animated as the match wore one.

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, MLS All-Star Game | 45 Comments

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 21

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Photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

While several of the Western Conference’s biggest contenders faltered, FC Dallas made a major statement to remain atop the table.

Throttling the Portland Timbers, 4-1, FC Dallas has asserted itself as the West’s best team, while the LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City fell to disappointing setbacks in the forms of momentum-halting defeats.

In the East, D.C. United put together a masterful comeback to break the hearts of the Union, while the Columbus Crew, Toronto FC and New York City FC continue to score goals in bunches while trying to establish themselves as legit contenders.

Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 21, as voted on by SBI’s editorial staff:

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Posted in Featured, SBI MLS Power Rankings, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

All-Star Game inclusion latest step in Ethan Finlay’s remarkable turnaround

Ethan Finlay 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

photo by Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Ethan Finlay struggled to fall asleep on Sunday. That night, Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter called Finlay to let him know he had made the MLS All-Star Game roster.

Finlay was left speechless and also extremely excited. It was a surreal a moment for him, but one that also served as a reminder of how far he had come in the past year and a half thanks to hard work and a necessary change in mentality.

Since the start of 2014, few players in MLS, if any, have made the kind of drastic improvements that Finlay has. The 24-year-old midfielder has gone from being a limited player who came off the bench and provided little to the attack to an every-game starter who consistently finds ways to make an impact.

Finlay’s turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. His first two seasons in MLS  saw him fail to score or assist in 34 appearances. The two seasons since have yielded a much more gratifying return, with Finlay netting 18 goals and assisting on 19 others.

The introduction of Berhalter as Crew head coach in 2014 played a part in that turnaround, but was not the only factor.

“I think a switch kind of turned in me,” Finlay told SBI. “When your back is up against the wall as I felt like I kind of was I made a decision that I’ve got to pick it up. This is on me. The onus is on me.  I took that literally and made a great opportunity for myself and I’m thankful for Gregg and the staff for giving me the opportunity and I’ve tried to run with it.”

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, MLS All-Star Game, MLS- Columbus Crew | 14 Comments