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.

Jul 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; MLS Homegrown Players head coach Landon Donovan (right) sits on the bench with his team prior to the MLS Homegrown Game at DSG Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Landon Donovan open to continue coaching in future

Landon Donovan enjoyed his first coaching experience on Tuesday, and said afterwards he is open to continue serving in that role.

Michael Berrios 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 21

FC Dallas continues to set the tone out West, topping this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings.

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 | 5 Comments

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

JoseMourinhoPSG (Getty)

 

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 | Leave a comment

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

Pablo Mastroeni Colorado Rapids 15

 

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:

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS All-Star Game | 17 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 | 29 Comments

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 21

Michael Berrios 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

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:

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, SBI MLS Power Rankings, Uncategorized | 3 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 | 10 Comments

Club America rallies to defeat Donovan-led MLS Homegrowns on penalty kicks

photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Landon Donovan might have been an exceptional penalty-kick taker in his career, but it is that part of the game that got his coaching career off to a losing start.

Club America’s Under-20s won the second MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday night, defeating the Donovan-led MLS Homegrowns, 6-5, on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw through 90 minutes. The shootout at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park went to seven rounds, but Anthony Jackson-Hamel missed on the Homegrowns’ final attempt.

Tommy Thompson scored the first goal in the history of the event in the first half, but the MLS side could not hold on. Tyler Turner conceded a penalty kick in the 67th minute for a push inside the penalty area, and Sergio Rodriguez capitalized on the opportunity by slotting in the ensuing spot kick a minute later.

Club America nearly won it before the end of regulation. Substitute Homegrowns goalkeeper Matt Lampson got just enough of the ball to push a 76th-minute shot off the post, and Victor Rodriguez fired a stinging shot from the right side of the penalty area two minutes before the final whistle that just went wide.

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS All-Star Game | 26 Comments

DeAndre Yedlin unsure whether he will stay with Tottenham this season

photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — DeAndre Yedlin will play for Tottenham in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game. Whether or not he does so in the upcoming Premiership season has yet to be determined.

Yedlin is entering his first full season with Spurs after making the move from the Seattle Sounders last winter. Questions and speculation persist about whether he will go on loan, or stay with Tottenham and battle for playing time at right back, where the team has strong options.

The speedy fullback was limited to just a single appearance of 11 minutes during his first five months with Tottenham, and his role for the upcoming season is unclear with Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier on the roster.

There have been rumors in recent weeks about Yedlin potentially going out on loan in order to have a better shot at earning minutes, but the 22-year-old U.S. Men’s National Team player is uncertain as to what the future will hold.

“I’m not sure about the plan ahead for next season,” said Yedlin ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with the MLS All-Stars. “I’m still waiting on that, but right now, just focused on this game and the rest of preseason.”

Continue reading »

Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, MLS All-Star Game | 42 Comments