Photo by Robert Mayer/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
Plagued by second-half troubles since last year’s World Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team sorely needs to find some answers if it is to head into the summer with restored confidence.
Its next chance to do so comes on Tuesday.
The U.S. has conceded 14 times in the second halves of 11 games dating back to last summer’s World Cup, but will have an opportunity to correct that ugly trend when it closes out its March camp with a friendly in Zurich against Switzerland. The Americans are coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss to Denmark in which they conceded twice in the final seven minutes, putting the pressure on them to bounce back in one of their last tuneups as a complete U.S. squad before this summer’s Gold Cup.
A benefit for Jurgen Klinsmman’s side is that Switzerland, which is coming off a 3-0 win over Estonia in Euro 2016 qualifying, will likely be counting on some new faces at Stadion Letzigrund. Regulars like Valon Behrami and Xherdan Shaqiri could be rested in favor of some lesser experienced but still talented players who will be trying to impress head coach Vladimir Petkovic.
Photo by Russ Isabella/USA Today Sports
By DAN KARELL
Two of the biggest stars in the women’s game will have new clubs in 2015.
On Monday evening, the Seattle Reign and Western New York Flash completed a blockbuster trade, with the rights to Abby Wambach, midfielder Amber Brooks, and a 2016 NWSL first-round draft pick heading to Seattle in exchange for Leroux and forward Amanda Frisbee.
“Abby is a fantastic player who has proven over the years she is one of the best forwards in the world,” said Reign head coach Laura Harvey said in a statement. “We understand and support her decision to focus on the World Cup this season. The contribution she is capable of making is obvious, so we will welcome her to our club at whatever point she is ready to rejoin the league.”
The deal is seen as a coup for the Flash, who pick up U.S. Women’s National Team star Leroux in the prime of her career in exchange for Wambach, who announced this month that she would be taking the 2015 season off to prepare fully for the 2015 World Cup in Canada.
By AARON CRANFORD
Club Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough is wanting and fighting to be a regular call-in with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Coming off the heels of Club America defender Ventura Alvarado expressing his happiness and commitment to the USMNT, Yarbrough told U.S. Soccer that he is working day in, day out in order to show head coach Jurgen Klinsmann that he wants to be a part of the USMNT picture moving forward.
“I like living day-by-day and doing my best every day,” Yarbrough said. “Right now, I’m just looking to give coach Klinsmann and the rest of the teammates a good impression of myself. I want them to know that I’m a person who’s going to give everything on and off the field, who truly shows passion and a commitment to the meaning of representing the United States.”
photo courtesy of NASL
By FRANCO PANIZO
There’s a tone of disappointment in Bill Peterson’s voice when talking about Minnesota United’s decision to join Major League Soccer, but the NASL commissioner is as convinced as ever that his league is at the highest level domestically.
Minnesota United announced its decision to join MLS in 2017 or 2018 at a press conference last week, a decision that was greeted with plenty of fanfare across the United Sates and Canada. The club’s bid had not only beaten out several others in places like Sacramento and Miami for the league’s 23rd franchise, but also a local one orchestrated by Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.
But what was largely glossed over during the formal announcement made at Target Field was that NASL, the league that Minnesota United currently plays in, was losing one of its marquee clubs. It’s a move that undoubtedly hurts NASL, but one that the league and Peterson are focusing on gleaning positives from. One Peterson believes further legitimizes NASL as a top league.
“I think this proves that our teams and our owners are at the highest level and the stuff of Division 1, Division 2 with no competition to determine that really doesn’t make sense,” Peterson told SBI. “Last Wednesday at 10 in the morning that club was in NASL, and at 2 o’clock in the afternoon it was in a different league. The only thing that changed was some cash exchanged hands. Nothing else changed.”
photo by Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
During the preseason, one New York Red Bulls player told SBI that the club’s new playing style under Jesse Marsch was similar to that of Barcelona in the way that it demanded players to press high up the field.
The Red Bulls’ system may not be quite as elegant as that of the Spanish giants, but it is proving plenty effective so far in the season.
A team that many predicted to have a down year, the Red Bulls finished March by moving into first place in the Eastern Conference this weekend. New York went on the road and picked up a 2-1 triumph over the Columbus Crew on Saturday, and it was the high-pressure system that Marsch has implemented that paved the way for the victory.
While the Red Bulls made a move up the table, the Portland Timbers and Philadelphia Union continued to stay near the bottom. Both clubs dropped points this weekend in different fashions, and their head coaches will now to need to really consider shaking things up in order to avoid falling further behind the pack this early in the season.
Here are the things from Week 4 that SBI is drawing from:
By RYAN TOLMICH
The New York Cosmos made a splash this offseason with the signing of Spanish legend Raul, and now the club has expanded its forward unit even further with the addition of an American rising star.
The Cosmos announced Monday that the club has signed U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team forward Haji Wright. The forward, who hails from Los Angeles, provided 18 goals and seven assists in 22 matches for the U-17s in 2014.
“I’m excited about joining the Cosmos,” Wright said in a statement. “The team plays with an attacking mindset that fits my style and I think it’s the perfect environment for the next stage of my development.
“Getting the chance to train with and learn from world-class players such as Raúl and Marcos Senna is any player’s dream.” Continue reading
Photo by Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports
By MATT STYPULKOSKI
The Chicago Fire picked up its first points of the season on Sunday afternoon and Matt Polster played a major role in the result.
Matched up against veterans Maurice Edu and Vincent Noguiera, Polster was clinical and precise in the midfield in the Fire’s 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union, earning the midfielder recognition as SBI MLS Rookie of the Week.
The 21-year-old out of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville started in the midfield alongside Michael Stephens. The duo bossed the game, consistently out-dueling Edu and Nogueira, and Polster connected on 40 of his 48 pass attempts on the day – an 83 percent completion rate.
Sunday marked Polster’s third consecutive start for the Fire after coming on as a substitute against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the season opener.
Polster beat out Seattle Sounders midfielder Christian Roldan for this week’s honors.
What did you think of Polster’s performance? Which rookie stood out to you in MLS Week 4?
Share your thoughts below.
By ADAM TROXTELL
A freshman soccer player from the University of California has been missing since early Saturday morning, prompting appeals for information about his whereabouts.
Eloi Vasquez, 19, was reportedly last seen leaving a party at the University of Southern California’s Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity chapter early on Saturday. He was last heard from at 2:15 a.m. that morning. Cal Athletics has issued an appeal for any information.
“Our entire Cal Athletics family is very concerned for Eloi’s safety and our first priority is to help in any way we can to locate him,” the statement reads. “We ask that everyone keep Eloi and his family in their thoughts and pray for his safe return.”
A flier asking for information about Vasquez’s disappearance says the freshman may have gone to the beach after leaving the party.