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Jesse Marsch sees lack of identity as part of reason for recent USMNT struggles

With the U.S. Men’s National Team currently struggling, New York Red Bulls head coach and former U.S. assistant Jesse Marsch has called for the team to reestablish its identity.

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Denmark 3, USMNT 2: The SBI Breakdown

The U.S. Men’s National Team suffered a 3-2 loss to Denmark on Wednesday, and here are SBI’s five biggest takeaways from the match.

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Report: Xavi set for lucrative move to Qatar

Barcelona midfielder Xavi is set to snub a move to NYCFC and sign a lucrative deal with Al-Sadd in Qatar.

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

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Photo by Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

Entering the season perceived to be just outside the league’s upper echelon, FC Dallas continues to make its case to be included among the league’s elite.

FC Dallas has picked up three wins in as many games, most recently besting the Philadelphia Union 2-0. With the victory, FC Dallas remains the only team in the league on maximum points.

Things haven’t been as smooth for the defending champion LA Galaxy, which was once again forced to settle for a draw.

Elsewhere, the Earthquakes picked up a second straight victory to open up Avaya Stadium in style while ensuring a move up the rankings.

Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 3: Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, SBI MLS Power Rankings | 20 Comments

MLS Ticker: Minnesota United faces opposition to stadium deal; Villarreal turns down U.S. Under-23 call-up; and more

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By AARON CRANFORD

Major League Soccer is ready to award an MLS expansion team to the owners of NASL side Minnesota United on Wednesday, but not everybody is wanting to help the latest addition succeed.

As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday, Minnesota Vikings executives, who were competing with Minnesota United for franchise rights to the Minneapolis market, are “twisting arms” to prevent the construction of a soccer-specific stadium for the current NASL side.

“The idea was that, thus discouraged, the MLS would zero in on awarding the expansion franchise to the Wilfs, and it would play in the new dome,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune stated.

Vikings executives Mark and Zygi Wilf, the president and principal owner of the NFL team, reportedly have “a loyal pal” in Senator Thomas Bakk.

Bakk reportedly phoned MLS Commissioner Don Garber before MLS made a final decision and told Garber that Minnesota United “would not receive a dime’s worth of assistance from the state” if they were selected in favor of the NFL team’s bid.

Here are some more MLS notes to close out your Tuesday:

Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team | 22 Comments

Clint Dempsey pulls out of USMNT squad with hamstring injury

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By ALAN CONDON

The U.S. Men’s National Team is set to be shorthanded on the attacking end for the team’s upcoming friendlies.

Captain Clint Dempsey suffered a right hamstring injury during training on Monday in Zurich, and will not be available for the upcoming friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland.

The Seattle Sounders captain returned to Seattle on Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined for two to three weeks with the injury. If that timetable proves accurate, Dempsey could miss matches against the Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy.

No replacement will be called upon to fill Dempsey’s shoes as the U.S. Men’s National Team kicks off its tour with a match against Denmark on Wednesday. Six days after their clash with Denmark at NRGi Park in Aarhus, the squad travels to Zurich to take on No. 12-ranked Switzerland.

What do you think of Dempsey’s injury? How will the USMNT and Seattle Sounders fare without the forward? Who should take his spot in the Americans’ lineup?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team | 96 Comments

David Beckham back in Miami, said to be open to stadium site near Marlins Park

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Photo by Robert Mayer/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

David Beckham is back in Miami, and a buzz about the city’s chances of landing an MLS team is growing again.

Beckham has been spotted in the South Florida metropolis over the last couple of days, and is reportedly meeting with business partner Marcelo Claure behind closed doors to discuss stadium locations for their proposed MLS franchise. Beckham has apparently even approved the use of land near Marlins Park just west of downtown Miami for his soccer-specific venue.

Earlier this month, the Miami-Dade County commission agreed to propose that location to Beckham as a site for the stadium that he and his group of investors need to gain entry into MLS.

“He mentioned (the site),” Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine told the Miami Herald a day after he was seen with Beckham at fashion guru Tommy Hilfiger’s birthday party. “I think he has a sense of openness and willingness to anything.”

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Expansion, MLS- Miami | 16 Comments

Who should the USMNT start vs. Denmark?

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photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

Having only a few days of preparation before a match is not necessarily ideal, but it is the situation Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. Men’s National Team find themselves in currently.

The U.S. began reconvening in Europe over the weekend, but the pleasantries were short-lived and focus was quickly placed on Wednesday’s friendly against Denmark. The match at NRGi Park provides Klinsmann with his first chance since last fall to see an entire group of foreign and domestic-based players, and should provide quite the challenge as the Americans continue to prepare for their CONCACAF Gold Cup title defense.

Klinsmann may have had the luxury of summoning in anyone of his choosing, but he has left off some notable names while calling on a pair of newcomers. Brad Guzan was left off the squad – due to the birth of his child – and so were regulars Mix Diskerud, Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler. Filling some of their places are Club Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough and Club American centerback Ventura Alvarado, two dual-nationals who have chosen the U.S. over Mexico.

Still, Klinsmann’s squad boasts plenty of experienced players receiving consistent minutes on the club level. From Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson, there is enough talent in the squad to grab a result and build on February’s 2-0 home win over Panama.

Here is who SBI sees starting for the U.S. in Wednesday’s match against Denmark:

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, U.S. Men's National Team | 32 Comments

Midday Ticker: Blatter says World Cup boycott is pointless; Falcao to fight for club future; and more

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By ALAN CONDON

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has told the UEFA Congress that a boycott of the Russia and Qatar world cups should not be considered, arguing that such protests never work.

Ahead of his bid for re-election on May 29, Blatter has insisted that soccer must remain united amid calls from politicians and lawmakers to jettison the two forthcoming World Cups over human rights issues and corruption claims.

“Football should be united, sport should be united when it comes to boycotts. Boycotts have never had any results … we have to go there,” said Blatter.

“The autonomy of sports must be guaranteed,” added Blatter. “We should do something for peace. Maybe we can help at least certain conflict situations.”

Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer, FIFA World Cup | 12 Comments

Adrian Heath adjusting lineup after international call-ups leave Orlando City shorthanded

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Photo by Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

By MIKE GRAMAJO

SANFORD, Fla. — After suffering its first-ever defeat in MLS, Orlando City faces a new challenge going into this weekend. The club is losing seven players to international call-ups in the coming days and also dealing with some injuries, making for a depleted roster.

Orlando head coach Adrian Heath, however, sees no problem adjusting his lineup when Orlando City travels to Saputo Stadium to take on the Montreal Impact on Saturday.

“I’ve always said, ‘One door closes (and) another one opens for somebody else,’ and people can walk through the door,” Heath told reporters during Orlando’s Monday training. “There will be a number of opportunities for our players this weekend. We’ve played three games now, and I think I can confidently say we’ve been the best team in all three games.”

If the Lions are to perform well again, they will have to count on their depth to help get the job done. Brek Shea (U.S. Men’s National Team), Kevin Molino (Trinidad & Tobago), Darwin Ceren (El Salvador), Cyle Larin (Canada), Conor Donovan (U.S. U-20s), Rafael Ramos (Portugal U-20s) and Estela (Portugal U-20s) will all be missing for Saturday’s encounter with the Impact.

Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Orlando City | 1 Comment

SBI MLS Goal of the Week: Octavio Rivero

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Photo by Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports

Posted in MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps, SBI MLS Goal of the Week | 9 Comments