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Friday Kickoff: Scholes criticizes Ozil; Denmark players hit out at governing body in wake of CBA negotiations; and more

Paul Scholes has criticized Mesut Ozil for taking the “easy option”, while Denmark remains embroiled in CBA frustration.

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The SBI Show: Episode 195 (MLS Western Conference Preview, Award Predictions, and more)

Episode 195 of The SBI Show takes a look back at the recently-approved MLS CBA, previews the MLS Western Conference, and shares our MLS award predictions.

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SBI MLS Preseason Power Rankings

With the 2015 MLS season set to kick off on Friday, here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings to start the new campaign.

Midday Ticker: Evans, Cisse charged for spitting incident; Robinho gets Brazil recall; and more

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By ADAM TROXTELL

Both Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse and Manchester United’s Jonny Evans will be charged over a spitting incident.

The pair were caught on video apparently spitting at each other when they clashed during Man United’s road game against Newcastle on Wednesday. The FA has announced that while the match officials did not see the incident, both will face disciplinary action.

The incident occurred in the 38th minute. Cisse fell to the ground while battling Evans for a loose ball during the match, and Evans appears to spit at the Senegalese striker as he rose.

Cisse attempts to grab Evans before he appears to spit back. The Newcastle man apologized for his actions on Thursday, but Evans has denied spitting during the incident.

Both players have until Monday night to respond to the charge. The minimum ban for spitting is six games, though Cisse could get a longer suspension since he was already banned for violent conduct earlier this season.

Here are some more news and notes for your Thursday afternoon:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | 7 Comments

Soccer Thursday: Your Running Commentary

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By MICHAEL PENG

While the competition is sparse in the world of soccer on Thursday, the meeting between Juventus and Fiorentina will take center stage and serve as the marquee matchup in a series of cup matchups.

The two Serie A sides will square off in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semifinals in Turin. Juventus, the reigning league champions and current leaders, drew 0-0 with Fiorentina on the road in the two clubs’ only meeting this season on Dec. 5.

Elsewhere, Coupe de France will also be in action, featuring matches between Brest and Auxerre, as well as Concarneau and Guingamp.

Last but not least, renowned South American sides River Plate and Atletico Nacional are set to face Tigres UANL and Estudiantes, respectively, in Copa Libertadores.

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

Enjoy the action (Today’s soccer TV schedule is after the jump): Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer, Soccer on TV, Your Running Commentary | 6 Comments

Orlando City Notes: Citrus Bowl to expand seating for opener; starting lineup taking form; and more

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By MIKE GRAMAJO

ORLANDO — When Orlando City SC announced earlier this week they officially filled the Citrus Bowl with 60,000 fans, that proved to be only a bluff of what their true potential was.

That potential was achieved on Wednesday during the teams media day when club president Phil Rawlins announced that 2,000 standing-room only seats will be added to accommodate Orlando City’s high demand of tickets for Sunday’s inaugural game vs. New York City FC.

“We’ve been able to work out a deal to add 2,000 more standing-room only tickets,” Rawlins told reporters. “They will be a first come, first serve base. So total capacity for our game on Sunday will be sold-out 62,000. That’s a testament to the interest in the team and our fan support. We’re delighted to have a great fan base and tremendous supporters to witness the event.”

With the Citrus Bowl being capped at 20,000 seats after the home opener, Rawlins also said the club is close to selling out its second game on March 21st when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps.

On the season ticket front, sources have confirmed with SBI that there are only handful of season tickets left before the club reaches its limit of 14,000.

Here are some more notes from Orlando City’s media day: Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Orlando City | 22 Comments

Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

In a match-up involving two of the three Americans who regularly see the field in the English Premier League, it was Geoff Cameron who helped his team come out on top with a solid performance off the bench.

Stoke City defeated Everton, 2-0, on Wednesday to pick up its third straight league victory, and Cameron played a part in making it happen by turning in a 73-minute shift as a substitute. Cameron was thrust into duty in the early going after a teammate went down with an injury, and the versatile American slotted in at centerback. Cameron then helped Stoke record a second straight shutout while simultaneously handing Tim Howard and the Toffees their second successive 2-0 defeat.

The other starting goalkeeper in England’s top division was able to come out victorious in his side’s game, and the triumph ended a winless run that stretched back to early December. Brad Guzan and Aston Villa defeated West Bromwich Albion, 2-1, at home on Tuesday, giving the Villans their first victory in 13 games and helping them move three points clear of the drop zone. Guzan did not make any saves in the match, but will have a chance to do so again this weekend when Aston Villa again welcomes the Baggies in an FA Cup quarterfinals fixture.

Two other Americans contributed to their team’s respective victories, as Amando Moreno and Conor O’Brien both made plays that allowed for more breathing room. Moreno scored the insurance goal and second of his career in Club Tijuana’s 2-0 Copa MX victory against Universidad de Guadalajara on Tuesday, and O’Brien delivered the assist on the final goal in Wiener Neustadt’s 3-1 triumph over Grodig a day later.

Here is how the Americans Abroad did during the midweek action:

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 5 Comments

Must-see Goal: Elias

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Posted in Must-See Goals, South American Soccer | 8 Comments

Thursday Kickoff: Inter could sell Icardi to finance signings; Corinthians down San Lorenzo; and more

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By DAN KARELL

Inter Milan may have to part with one of their prized assets this summer to achieve their transfer war chest.

Manager Roberto Mancini has already identified a number of summer signings, including chasing Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, Torino defender Matteo Darmian, Marseille forward Andre-Pierre Gignac, and AS Monaco midfielder Jeremy Toulalan, among others according to Gazzetta Dello Sport. But due to Financial Fair Play regulations and Inter’s reported debt of €180 million, they’re likely going to have to have an even balance sheet at the end of the transfer window.

In order to afford the numerous players Mancini has his eye on, Inter may be forced to sell Argentine forward Mauro Icardi. Gazzetta reports that Icardi is worth €40 million and despite reports recently that Inter are looking to sign Icardi to an extension, his sale could pave the way for some of the new signings to come in.

Losing Icardi would be a huge loss for the team though. He’s currently second in Serie A in scoring with 14 goals in 21 games, and he’s scored five other goals in cup competitions.

Inter are currently in ninth place in Serie A, and perhaps crucially, they’re seven points behind the final Europa League qualification place in the standings.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday:

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Posted in CONCACAF Champions League, European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer | 2 Comments