By FRANCO PANIZO
A legendary loss, a controversial coaching change, and a partial roster reconstruction. It’s the start of a new era for the New York Red Bulls.
The 2014 season did not end as the Red Bulls had hoped, but was still seen largely as a positive one after the club made it to within a goal of the MLS Cup final. The successful playoff run they enjoyed still was not enough to prevent drastic changes, as star player Thierry Henry left the club and subsequently retired before new sporting director Ali Curtis dismissed fan favorite head coach Mike Petke.
Filling Petke’s place almost immediately was Jesse Marsch, a coach with experience throughout various levels of the game and who has been deemed to be more in line with the club’s vision for the future. What that vision consists of is playing a more up-tempo style, and integrating and developing more youth players that will be able to contribute both in the short term and further down the road.
Marsch has a tough task ahead, however. He not only has to placate a rabid fanbase that is still livid over Petke’s firing, but do so with a roster that doesn’t include Henry, Tim Cahill or Jamison Olave. What Marsch does have at his disposal is a chunk of the established core of last year’s team, with Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips, midfielder Dax McCarty and goalkeeper Luis Robles all returning to the fray.
Those veterans and several others will need to buy into Marsch’s system and perform to their standards if the Red Bulls are to have any shot at matching or surpassing last season’s success. It’s a new-look New York team this year, but not one without the usual expectations to deliver.
Here’s a closer look at the 2015 New York Red Bulls:
By DAN KARELL
Arsenal have received a big mid-season boost with the return of Aaron Ramsey to the match-day squad.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed in a press conference on Tuesday that Ramsey has fully recovered from his third hamstring injury of the season, and is available to feature against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Wednesday.
We have Aaron Ramsey back in the squad and from Everton, I don’t think we lost anybody,” Wenger said, via the Guardian. “We will check with the medical people whether he will be available or not, but there is no reason why he should not be available.
“With a repetition of muscular injury it can put a little bit of a handbrake on your body and to get rid of that is a psychological problem. Looking at him in training, I don’t think he suffers from that, but you lose a bit of confidence in your body.”
Ramsey has scored five goals in 24 games but he’s been in and out of the lineup all season due to injuries, failing to fully establish a rhythm. His last game was on Feb. 10, where he lasted only 11 minutes off the bench.
Here are some more stories to catch up on from around the world:
Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
The Montreal Impact may have let a two-goal lead slip away in Mexico, but they still have a chance to close things out at home and don’t even need a win to advance.
The Impact are set to host Pachuca in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals series on Tuesday, and are in good position to move on in the tournament. No, playing at home does not guarantee anything, but Montreal will move into the semifinals with a win or a 1-1 draw following last week’s entertaining and chippy 2-2 draw.
There is a strong local buzz around the game at Olympic Stadium and more than 30,000 fans are expected to attend, which should give the Impact a good home field advantage. While that will certainly help, it is the Impact’s defense that could determine the club’s fate in the competition. The back line struggled to cope with Pachuca’s increased pressure after Montreal jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and will need to do a better job of containing what will surely be an urgent attack from the Liga MX side.
On the offensive side, Frank Klopas’ side will likely look to hit on the counter again. The Impact did well with that tactic in the opening leg, as Dilly Duka and Justin Mapp smartly exploited the space in front of them and created some good looks on goal. More of the same from them would have Montreal in prime position to advance, especially if Pachuca grows desperate and begins to throw numbers forward.
By DAN KARELL
If the reports are to be believed, Sporting Kansas City have made an offer that most would find hard to turn down.
According to German publication BILD, Sporting KC have offered Hamburg SV and Netherlands international midfielder Rafael van der Vaart a contract of €4.3 million (Approximately $4.82 million) per season. The report states that that’s €800,000 more than what van der Vaart is earning this season with Hamburg.
Sporting KC owner Robb Heinemann confirmed that there is interest from the club in van der Vaart but disputed the figures in the report:
The 32-year-old midfielder’s contract runs out at the end of this season, so he could be tempted for a move to MLS, though the call back home to his boyhood club Ajax is also a possibility.
By DAN KARELL
The U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team didn’t dominate proceedings like it did three days earlier, but still managed to come away with another victory.
Forward Joe Gallardo scored his fourth goal of the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship and Haji Wright scored his first as the U.S. U-17s took down Trinidad and Tobago U-17s, 2-0. The win puts the U.S. at the top of Group A with six points, following the opening day 5-0 victory against Cuba.
In an overall uninspiring performance, the U.S. was lifted by a couple of moments of brilliance.
Attacking midfielder Alejandro Zendejas drew a free kick at the edge of the area in the 30th minute. A minute later, Gallardo stepped up and placed a free kick low and hard towards the far post. Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Levi Fernandez was leaning to the right, but was unable to dive to the other way and fully keep the ball out.
By MATT STYPULKOSKI
Roma’s Serie A title hopes will be on the line against Juventus on Monday afternoon.
Juve enters the clash with a hefty advantage atop the league’s table, but the Giallorossi could cut the deficit to a more manageable six-point gap with a win at home, where they are unbeaten this season.
In October, Juve won a controversial 3-2 game in Turin. But this time around, Roma will benefit from the absence of Andrea Pirlo, who picked up a calf injury during the Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund last week. Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba could also miss the match.
This evening, the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team has an important match as it continues in the CONCACAF Championship group stage in Honduras. The Americans, who opened the tournament with a 5-0 win over Cuba on Friday, are set to take on Trinidad and Tobago.
Elsewhere, Spanish side Elche, which sits just one point clear of the relegation zone, will take on mid-table Celta de Vigo.
If you will be watching today’s soccer, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump): Continue reading