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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

Liverpool meets Manchester City in league play, Chelsea plays Tottenham in the cup, and top teams in Spain meet on a packed Soccer Saturday.

USMNT vs. Panama 2015 (USA TODAY Sports)

23 for 2015: Projecting the USMNT Gold Cup roster (February 2015 Edition)

Gyasi Zardes and Graham Zusi break into the latest edition of SBI’s projected U.S. Gold Cup roster.

DonGarberMLSSuperDraft2013 (Getty)

Don Garber: MLS can become ‘guinea pig’ for use of technology in soccer

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the league could be a “guinea pig” for new technologies in soccer, like instant video replays.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

Samir-Nasri-Manchester-City-Daniel-Sturridge--Liverpool-Getty

 

By ADAM TROXTELL

A full slate of Sunday action in England begins with a modern Premier League classic.

Liverpool hosts Manchester City while on a streak of 12-games without a loss, and both teams will look for a valuable win. The Reds can draw level on points with fourth-place Arsenal, at least temporarily, with a victory.

Man City will try to take advantage of league leaders Chelsea being out of action and cut their lead to just two points. The Citizens were victorious when these teams met in August, thanks in part to a Stevan Jovetic brace.

Chelsea will not play in the Premier League this weekend because they’ll be at Wembley, battling London-rivals Tottenham in the League Cup Final. With a 5-3 thrashing of the Blues on New Year’s Day in mind, Spurs will try to copy their efforts from the 2008 final when they took the cup at the expense of Chelsea.

Finally, Arsenal attempts to maintain an advantage in the race for UEFA Champions League spots when Everton visits the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners had to come back from two goals down to draw Everton the last time they played, with Olivier Giroud netting the late equalizer.

In Spain, Real Madrid hosts a Villarreal side trying to keep pace with European qualification spots. Sevilla and Atletico Madrid meet under similar circumstances, and Paris Saint-Germain will try to take top spot in France with a win against Monaco.

If you will be watching today’s action, feel free to leave your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (today’s soccer on TV schedule after the jump):

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | 3 Comments

23 for 2015: Projecting the USMNT Gold Cup roster (February 2015 Edition)

USMNT vs. Panama 2015 (USA TODAY Sports)

Photo by Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

By IVES GALARCEP

The month of February featured just one U.S. Men’s National Team match, but that 2-0 win against Panama was enough to help offer some more information on an ever-evolving player pool four months before the Gold Cup.

Gyasi Zardes and Miguel Ibarra were the players who saw their stock rise the most in February. Zardes stood out in the win against Panama, while Ibarra earned praise from Jurgen Klinsmann for his showing in the same match.

There wasn’t a ton of movement in our projected U.S. Gold Cup squad, though there were a few changes. Among them is Graham Zusi, who has come back from a lingering foot injury and should be back with the national team for the March friendlies.

Here is the February edition of SBI’s projected U.S. Gold Cup roster:

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

Don Garber: MLS can become ‘guinea pig’ for use of technology in soccer

DonGarber2 (Getty)

By CAITLIN MURRAY

When Don Garber spoke at a sports conference in Boston on Friday, the top question on tap was unsurprisingly about ongoing negotiations with the Major League Soccer players union. And Garber unsurprisingly had little to add to what has been said publicly already — he remains hopeful the upcoming season will start on time.

But Garber, the league’s commissioner, also hinted that MLS could see other changes in the future — if he gets his way — as he wants to position the league on the cutting edge in a sport that has resisted the introduction of new technologies.

“If I were king, we would have instant replay,” Garber said at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday. “We would have cameras on our players. We would be putting them in our goalposts. We would be having microphones on our field. Our guys would be wearing GoPro cameras.”

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer | 19 Comments

SBI MLS Season Preview: Orlando City

Orlando City Collage

By MIKE GRAMAJO

After all of the hype and buildup, Orlando City is finally ready to take the field for its inaugural MLS campaign.

Orlando City will look to translate the club’s winning history from its USL days, and with the likes of Designated Player Kaka leading the way, the Lions have now shifted the focus on winning an MLS Cup as the league’s newest expansion side.

With head coach Adrian Heath, regarded as the most successful coach in the history of the USL after winning consecutive titles, at the helm, the Lions also bring a new flavor of soccer into MLS’ 20th season.

While the team has plenty of new faces, eight players from the 2014 USL season have made the jump to MLS: Kevin Molino, Darwin Ceren, Tyler Turner, Tommy Redding, Luke Boden, Harrison Heath, Rafael Ramos and Estrela.

Orlando City had a busy, and early, MLS offseason. Bringing in the likes of veteran players such as Aurelien Collin from Sporting KCand Amobi Okugo from Philadelphia Union, Orlando City has managed to build a competitive roster that has the potential to contend from the get-go.

Here’s a closer look at Orlando City leading up to the 2015 regular season: Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Orlando City | 14 Comments

SBI MLS Season Preview: Real Salt Lake

RSL Preview Collage

By DAN KARELL

Even without Jason Kreis at the helm, Real Salt Lake didn’t look much different than it’s previous iteration.

With the likes of Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, and centerback pair Chris Schuler and Nat Borchers, RSL proved that they were still one of the best teams in the league, and backed it up with a third-place finish in the Western Conference.

After drawing the LA Galaxy at home in the Western Conference semifinals, head coach Jeff Cassar and RSL hit the road to try and advance to the finals, only to be clobbered, 5-0.

That game was a big turning point for the team.

Since then, many of the veterans of the team have been plucked away by the likes of the Portland Timbers (Borchers), New York City FC (Ned Grabavoy, Chris Wingert), and Toronto FC (Robbie Findley). General manager Garth Lagarway left for the Seattle Sounders.

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Real Salt Lake | 1 Comment

Saturday European Rewind: Rooney fires Man United to win; Dortmund crushes Schalke; and more

Wayne Rooney celebrates after scoring

By ADAM TROXTELL

In search of goals, Manchester United turned to one of its most reliable sources in the past decade.

Wayne Rooney scored twice in the Red Devils 2-0 win against Sunderland, making him the first player in English Premier League history to score 10-or-more goals in 11 seasons. The goals came about 20 minutes apart in the second half, but they had been expected for much longer than that.

After surviving a spell of Sunderland dominance in the opening minutes, Man United totally bossed the game. The Black Cats were pinned back during the majority of the time and had to deal with nine shots on target.

The Red Devils were still unable to turn all of this into a goal, and as a result were about to replace Radamel Falcao. Just before that, the Colombian brought a long-ball down neatly in the box and was subsequently pulled down by John O’Shea.

Oddly it was another former Man United center back, Wes Brown, who was sent off in a decision that will surely be corrected by the FA. Regardless, Rooney dispatched the penalty for a 1-0 lead.

He then scored his first goal from open play since Dec. 26 when he headed in the rebound from Adnan Januzaj’s shot. With the win, Man United jumps over Arsenal into third place.

Elsewhere in Europe, a late effort from Borussia Dortmund sealed a win against rivals Schalke. Barcelona brushed Granada aside in La Liga play, and Lyon received a hit in its French league title fight.

Here is more from the action across Europe’s top leagues on Saturday:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | 1 Comment