photo by Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
Mired in a rough stretch that has seen them score three times in five games, the LA Galaxy are set to receive a big boost in the attack.
Robbie Keane returned to Galaxy training on Wednesday after missing the last seven games with a groin strain, and could be in uniform for Friday’s home tilt against the Houston Dynamo. The 34-year-old striker’s absence has been felt during that stretch, as LA has just six times while compiling a 2-2-3 record.
“I’m feeling very good, looking forward to getting back,” Keane told reporters. “It was nice to get back the last two days, back in practice with the lads. So far, so good. … No pain, not at the moment.
“We have to see, the next couple of days. (I’m) certainly looking for minutes on Friday. I think you all know me well enough now that I don’t enjoy weekends off. I prefer to be playing.”
The Galaxy’s Designated Player has played in four games this season, scoring twice.
Here are more notes from around MLS:
By RYAN TOLMICH
When the schedule for this summer’s International Champions Cup was released, there was one game that was left to be determined. Plans for that game have now been finalized.
The San Jose Earthquakes will host Manchester United on July 21 at the California Memorial Stadium. The matchup will be the second to be hosted at the stadium in as many years following last season’s clash between Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
“The Earthquakes have competed in nearly every major venue in the Bay Area and now we are excited to play at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley,” said Earthquakes President Dave Kaval. “To be able to play a well-known and respected team such as Manchester United at this great venue is a tremendous opportunity for our club and our fans.”
In addition to the Manchester United match, the Earthquakes will also host Club America, who will travel to Avaya Stadium on July 14. The tournament will also feature the LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Chelsea, Paris-Saint Germain, Barcelona, Fiorentina and Porto.
Take a look at the updated International Champions Cup schedule below: Continue reading
By DAN KARELL
A man who FC Barcelona refers to as the “architect” of their success over the past 15 years has announced that he’s leaving the club for a new challenge.
Xavi confirmed reports at a press conference in Barcelona on Thursday, announcing that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season to sign with Qatari club Al-Sadd, the former club of fellow Spanish National Team legend Raul.
”I feel that I need to leave,” Xavi told reporters, via the AP. ”I am 35 and I have spent 17 seasons here. I think it is the moment to leave.”
In 17 years with Barcelona’s first team, Xavi has helped lead the club to an incredible 23 trophies, including eight La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League titles. Xavi can take his personal trophy account to 25 with both the Copa Del Rey and Champions League still up for grabs. He holds the record for most appearances at the club with 866 including friendly matches.
”The only thing left is to win the last two finals,” Xavi said. ”This finale is special for me, spectacular. The script couldn’t be better.”
Xavi will have one last chance to say good bye to Barcelona fans this Saturday in the final home league match against Deportivo La Coruña. According to multiple reports, Xavi was close to joining New York City FC after Spain’s disastrous World Cup in Brazil before then-newly hired head coach Luis Enrique called Xavi up and convinced him to stay.
Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday:
By IVES GALARCEP
With the European and Mexican club seasons winding to a close, it is time to look back at the Americans who enjoyed the best seasons playing abroad.
The contingent of Americans Abroad may have lost a bunch of star power in recent years with the likes of Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley moving back to MLS, but there still remains a sizable presence of Americans plying their trades, and thriving in foreign leagues.
From Fabian Johnson helping Borussia Moenchengladbach secure a place in the UEFA Champions League to Geoff Cameron helping Stoke City finish in the top half of the English Premier League and Alfredo Morales anchoring FC Ingolstadt’s promotion to the German Bundesliga, there were plenty of good success stories.
Our question for you today is this: Which American playing abroad do you think had the best season in 2014/2015? Cast your vote for SBI Americans Abroad Player of the Year after the jump:
By FRANCO PANIZO
There is not a whole lot to play for for the remaining members of the Americans Abroad contingent, but DeAndre Yedlin and Totttenham are among the few exceptions.
Tottenham enters the final weekend of the Premier League campaign still in the hunt for its lone UEFA Europa League berth, but needs a victory coupled with a Liverpool loss to Stoke City to guarantee a fifth-place finish. Spurs have the benefit of taking on an Everton side that has only pride to play for, but the game is on the road at Goodison Park. Yedlin seems unlikely to start for Tottenham in the match, but could again be an option off the bench for manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Another American still with much at stake going into his club’s final match is Bobby Wood. FC Erzgebirge is currently in the 2. Bundesliga relegation zone, and only a win with some outside help can assure it of avoiding the drop. Wood should be in the lineup for Ezgebirge for its Sunday visit to Heidenheimer, and will surely be hoping to get on the scoresheet so as to help the side that was willing to take a chance on him this past winter.
Jonathan Bornstein also has added incentive to win this weekend. Bornstein and Queretaro host Pachuca on Sunday in the second leg of their Liga MX Liguilla semifinals series, and a win there could advance the White Roosters to the championship bout. Bornstein has been seeing time lately for the club, and might be used as a starter in the decisive clash because of his experience.
Here is who the Americans Abroad battle this weekend:
By COLE KELLOGG
The Seattle Sounders were always certain to have a rough go of retaining their U.S. Open Cup title, but a fourth round draw against the Portland Timbers will make it all the more difficult.
On Thursday evening, U.S. Soccer released the possible matchups that will largely be determined by the outcome of the third round of games, which will take place on May 27.
15 MLS teams were placed into geographic regions that correspond specifically to a third round matchup. With two more MLS teams than third round matches, though, the Sounders were picked to play the Portland Timbers on June 16.
Another scintillating matchup could be a standoff between Peter Wilt’s old club in the Chicago Fire and his new one in Indy Eleven.
The remaining exciting match possibilities include a possible derby between the New York Cosmos and New York City FC, Minnesota United against Sporting Kansas City, the San Antonio Scorpions versus the Houston Dynamo, and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers against Orlando City SC.
The possibilities are as follows:
By RYAN TOLMICH
With titles decided in Europe’s major leagues, this weekend’s events center around relegation battles.
In England, one of Newcastle or Hull City will see relegation to the Championship, but the former enter as the more likely to survive. A Newcastle win over West Ham would ensure safety, as would a Hull City draw or loss to Manchester United. As it stands, Newcastle maintains a two point advantage but has a seven-goal deficit in goal differential.
La Liga sees battles both at the top of the table and the bottom, as Valencia and Sevilla compete for the league’s fourth and final Champions League spot with just one point between them. Meanwhile, relegation has four potential contenders, with Granada, Deportivo, Eibar and Almeria all fighting to avoid the final two spots.
On a more positive note, Liga MX’s Liguilla semifinals are set for Friday with Chivas de Guadalajara taking on Santos Laguna while Queretaro faces Pachuca. Finally, both MLS and NASL boast full slates of action.
Here is this weekend’s soccer on TV (schedule after the jump): Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
When Major League Soccer held a ceremony in Miami more than a year ago to announce plans to expand into the Florida city, few could have imagined that MLS wouldn’t be the first pro soccer league to jump back into the difficult market.
The North American Soccer League has done just that, swooping into Miami at a time when David Beckham’s plans for MLS expansion in the city has hit a series of roadblocks. Now, with Miami FC set to play in NASL next year, the league that had grown accustomed to losing markets to MLS suddenly looks ready to take one of its own.
NASL commissioner Bill Peterson insists the timing of the league’s move into Miami wasn’t about trying to beat MLS to the punch. Citing his belief that Miami is big enough to support more than one club if necessary, Peterson says that he believes a potential MLS expansion could be beneficial to both parties.
“It did not have an effect on the timing of any decision,” Peterson told SBI regarding the MLS plans. “Of course, we evaluated it with potential owners. Will this venture be successful if there’s another team in town? We absolutely believe that not only will it be successful, it might be more successful. We do believe that rivalries are good for the fans. It generates more interest in the different communities. Continue reading