Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

Upstart Aston Villa will look to continue their impressive start to the English Premier League season by beating Arsenal in one of the marquee match-ups on a busy Soccer Saturday.

RSL shake off early deficit to roll over Rapids

Real Salt Lake shook off an early deficit to roll past the sliding Colorado Rapids on Friday night.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Brad Guzan and Aston Villa look to extend strong start to season vs. Arsenal, Julian Green aims to see time against Bayern Munich, and more in this upcoming weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

Brad Guzan of Aston Villa

By IVES GALARCEP

Brad Guzan and Aston Villa are enjoying a dream start to their English Premier League season, and the Villans sit in second place in the league through four matches. Led by Guzan’s play in goal, and an improved defense that has allowed just one goal so far this season, Aston Villa are riding high after beating Liverpool last week.

Another very tough test awaits today as Arsenal looks to hand the Villans their first loss of the season, while also trying to climb back into the top four. Arsene Wenger’s side has just one in in four matches this season (to go with three ties), but has the weapons to test Guzan.

In Italy, AC Milan and Juventus square off in a Serie A clash of unbeaten teams. Milan are off to a promising start to the new season, and will be looking to send a statement to the defending Serie A champions with a win at the San Siro.

Today’s MLS schedule features several important matches with playoff implications, including Vancouver’s visit to Portland, Houston’s trip to take on the Philadelphia Union, and the Columbus Crew meet the New England Revolution.

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):

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Posted in Featured, Uncategorized, Your Running Commentary | 102 Comments

Friday College Rewind: Duke upsets UNC; Cal hands Delaware first loss; and more

College

Photo by Duke Photography

 

By AARON CRANFORD

Another week, another college team tumbles from the top spot in the nation.

Duke upset new SBI No.1 North Carolina, 2-1, on Friday night with a late goal from freshman Cameron Moseley. UNC’s Tyler Engel scored the lone goal for the Tar Heels in the first half, but Duke senior Sean Davis scored a spectacular free kick to level the score in the 75th minute. Moseley scored the game-winning goal in the 81st minute.

No. 15 California handed No. 20 Delaware its first loss of the season, posting a 4-2 victory over the Blue Hens. Senior Connor Hallisey and sophomore Christian Thierjung both had braces. The Blue Hens’ Tobias Muller scored a brace of his own in the second half, but the Golden Bears’ Thierjung scored his two within the first five minutes, setting the tone for the rest of the match.

Meanwhile, other ranked sides had a difficult Friday. Another top team, No. 3 George Mason, underperformed, playing to a listless 0-0 draw with Seton Hall, and No. 9 New Mexico played to a 1-1 draw with Drexel.

No. 11 Michigan State welcomed struggling Maryland to the Big Ten by beating them 1-0 in College Park, Maryland.

The Terps were offensively frustrated throughout the night, as junior goalkeeper Zach Bennett grabbed his fifth shutout this season. Junior Jason Stacy gave the Spartans the lead in the ninth minute, and they held on from there to snatch an important away win in the difficult Big Ten conference.

Here is rundown of Friday’s top college results:

FRIDAY

Duke 2, (1) North Carolina 1 (Recap)

Seton Hall 0, (3) George Mason 0. (Recap)

(9) New Mexico 1, Drexel 1. (Recap)

Maryland 0, (11) Michigan State 1. (Recap)

Kentucky 0, (13) Furman 0. (Recap)

(15) California 4, (20) Delaware 2. (Recap)

(18) Stanford 2, SIUE 1. (Recap)

Lipscomb 4, (22) Memphis 3. (Recap)

Boston College 2, Louisville 3. (Recap)

Virginia Tech 2, Wake Forest 0. (Recap)

Posted in College Soccer | 1 Comment

SBI Friday Rewind: Las Vegas stadium deal likely kaput; FIFA decision coming on Qatar; and more

LasVegasStadium_Exterior (FindlaySportsLV)

It’s a fierce fight for the remaining expansion slot up for grabs in Major League Soccer, and it looks like Las Vegas may have to bow out. Reports out of Sin City indicate a plan to build an MLS stadium there will not get approval from the city council. If it is rejected when it comes up for a vote next month, that will likely mean a knockout for the Las Vegas bid for an MLS team.

Meanwhile, everyone is going to have to wait a bit longer to hear anything from FIFA ethics investigations related to awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively. FIFA ethics chief Hans-Joachim Eckert said a decision over alleged potential bidding corruption is unlikely to come until next spring.

And the 2020 European Championships are set, with England playing host for the key matches of the tournament, including the final at Wembley Stadium in London.

Here is a rundown of all the stories featured on SBI Friday:

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Report: Las Vegas stadium proposal on the rocks

The SBI Show: Episode 165 (Talking the new MLS logo, U.S. Open Cup Final, and more)

MLS Week 28: A Look Ahead

Sounders add Nigerian defender Apam

Toni nets second-half brace as Sporting KC win CCL clash with Deportivo Saprissa

MINOR LEAGUE SOCCER
USL Pro semifinals: A Look Ahead

NASL Week 12: A Look Ahead

Fort Lauderdale Strikers sold to Brazilian trio

COLLEGE SOCCER
College Weekend Preview: Delaware’s California Clashes, Virginia-Notre Dame Headline Week 4

SBI College Soccer Top 25 (Sept. 19th Edition)

INTERNATIONAL SOCCER
Friday Kickoff: 2018, 2022 World Cup decision to come in Spring; Maradona discusses drug regrets; and more

UEFA selects 13 host cities for Euro 2020, London’s Wembley Stadium to host final

Europa League Rewind: Howard stars for Everton; Sevilla beat Feyenoord; and more

Liga MX Round 9: A Look Ahead

This Weekend’s Soccer on TV

 

Posted in SBI Daily Rewind | 1 Comment

USL Pro semifinals: A Look Ahead

NemanjaVukovicSacramentoRepublic1 (SacramentoRepublic)

By EVAN REAM

With MLS officials currently in town, possible future stadium renderings released and a letter of intent signed for a bid for that stadium site, the city of Sacramento has entered full celebration mode.

Though the MLS representatives are not scheduled to stay for the game, the No. 2 seed Republic will hope to continue the celebration on the field when they take on rivals and No. 3 seed LA Galaxy II on Saturday night at Bonney Field.

In four meetings this year, Los Dos only posted a single victory against Sacramento. That win came in the final game of the regular season, when the Republic rested most of their starters in a 2-1 result that was Sacramento’s only loss at Bonney Field all season.

The Republic are coming off of a 4-1 blowout win against in-form Wilmington in a game that was decided by three Sacramento goals off set pieces. With a 9-1-2 record in their last 12 games, the Republic are the hottest side in USL and the title favorites after No. 1 seed Orlando City was upset at home in the quarterfinals.

If the Galaxy II hope to advance, they will need to stop MVP candidate Rodrigo Lopez, who scored eight of his 10 regular season goals at Bonney Field. The task of stopping “RoRo” will be more difficult than usual as Los Dos captain and holding midfielder Rafael Garcia was sent off in a 2-1 victory over Rochester, meaning he will be suspended for the game against the Republic.

Chandler Hoffman, who has earned appearances with the Galaxy first team thanks to strong play in USL Pro, powers a talented Galaxy II front line that finished second in the league with 54 goals.

Here’s a look at the other semifinal matchup in USL Pro:

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Posted in USL Pro | 7 Comments

NASL Week 12: A Look Ahead

MinnesotaUnitedCelebrateGoal1 (MinnesotaUnited)

By EVAN REAM

A possible Soccer Bowl preview highlights the action this weekend in the NASL as first-place San Antonio hosts second-place Minnesota on Saturday at Toyota Field.

With a win, the Scorpions can take a one point lead in the combined table, while United can take the top spot in the fall season with a win of their own.

The two teams have been far and away the best teams in the fall. They are the only two teams who have a goal differential better than +1.

In order to garner a positive result, San Antonio will need to slow down Minnesota striker Christian Ramirez, who has already scored a club-record 15 goals, including two goals in the past two games.

As winners of the Spring Championship, United has already claimed a playoff spot, but is still fighting for the No. 1 overall seed while the Scorpions are looking to move closer to the four-team playoff field.

Here’s a look at the rest of the weekend’s action in NASL:

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Posted in NASL | 6 Comments

College Weekend Preview: Delaware’s California Clashes, Virginia-Notre Dame Headline Week 4

msoccer14-dipre-spc(mj)

Photo by Mark Jordan/University of Delaware Athletics

By AARON CRANFORD

The Blue Hens are undefeated but untested.

A relatively simple schedule against unranked opponents has seen the SBI No. 20 Delaware surge to a perfect 6-0 record. Five of those six wins were at home, but Delaware now faces a tough weekend, as they travel across the country to play No. 15 California on Friday and No. 18 Stanford on Sunday.

California and Stanford are both 3-1 this year, and both of their losses came against respectable foes in their first match this season. SBI No. 1 North Carolina defeated California, and No. 10 Creighton topped Stanford.

The Blue Hens are being led by junior Joe Dipre, who scored two game-winning goals last week and was voted Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week for his performances.

In Friday’s match, the Golden Bears will want help from playmaker Connor Hallisey, who has five assists this season, to end the Blue Hens unbeaten streak. Stanford, in the middle of a five-game home stretch, will look to continue its winning ways.

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Liga MX Round 9: A Look Ahead

DarlonPabonMonterrey2 (Imago7)

By DAN KARELL

After going through some tough times, Monterrey are looking like the power they were under Victor Manuel Vucetich.

Manager Carlos Barra has taken Rayados to second place, with a fit Humberto Suazo and an in-form Darlon Pavon leading the way as they challenge Club America for the top place in the standings. Rayados’ next match is a nationally televised matinee at fifth-placed Toluca, who have won two straight matches and are looking to remain undefeated in the Apertura at home.

Also in action this weekend in Liga MX, the aforementioned America look to rebound from a disappointing draw at Universidad de Guadalajara when they host Pachuca, Club Tijuana host third-place Santos Laguna in what’s always an exciting match, and Tigres UANL host Leones Negros.

Queretaro and Ronaldinho hit the road this weekend to face Chivas de Guadalajara, which will cap off Round 9 action.

Here’s a full rundown of this weekend’s schedule in Liga MX, complete with TV listings:

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UEFA selects 13 host cities for Euro 2020, London’s Wembley Stadium to host final

MichelPlatiniUEFALondon1-Euro2020 (Getty)

By RYAN TOLMICH

The 2020 European Championships are set to be hosted in cities across the continent, with the tournament’s finals and semifinals scheduled to be held at one of the sport’s most famous stadiums.

UEFA announced Friday that the Euro 2020 finals and semifinals will be held in London’s Wembley Arena, which will join a list of 12 other cities in hosting the tournament.

“We are delighted,” said English FA chairman Greg Dyke. “It’s nice to win one! Wembley is a great stadium and we are delighted to be holding the finals of this tournament.

“Wembley has been completely rebuilt since 1996 and is it a wonderful stadium.” Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer, International Soccer | 14 Comments

SBI College Soccer Top 25 (Sept. 19th Edition)

Craven-UNC-UNCAthletics

Photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati/UNC Athletic Communications

 By IVES GALARCEP

The North Carolina Tar Heels may have started the 2014 season with a loss, but it is the way they have rebounded that now has the ACC powerhouse on top of the heap.

UNC has climbed up to the No. 1 spot in the latest SBI College Soccer Top 25 on the strength of a four-match winning streak that has included four straight shutout victories. Led by an attack that is spreading the wealth in the goal-scoring department, the Tar Heels look like the team to beat in the ACC.

Another team that has overcome a rough start to the season is Marquette. The defending Big East champions have shaken off a pair of early-season defeats to also post a four-match winning streak, all via shutout, to climb back up into the SBI Top 25.

Here is the SBI College Soccer Top 25 for Sept. 19th (records through Thursday):

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Posted in College Soccer, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Sounders add Nigerian defender Apam

onyekachiapam

By JASON MITCHELL

With the MLS regular season winding down, the Seattle Sounders boast the league’s best record, as they have for most of the season. They are in the driver’s seat in the Supporters’ Shield race and a favorite to hoist the MLS Cup trophy.

That did not stop them from squeezing in a last-minute player addition before rosters froze on Monday.

On Friday afternoon the club announced the signing of Onyekachi Apam, a Nigerian center back with 128 appearances in Ligue 1 and 14 caps for the Nigerian national team. Per club and league policy, contract terms were not disclosed.

Apam began his professional career with OCG Nice in 2005, making 105 appearances before transferring to Stade Rennes in 2010. He has struggled with injuries since moving to Rennes, making just 23 appearances in four years.

“Onyekachi brings vast experience from French Lique 1 and the Nigerian national team,” said Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson in a press release. “He is a versatile defender who can play central or wide and has the ability to start our attack from the back as well.”

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Posted in MLS- Seattle Sounders | 14 Comments

RSL shake off early deficit to roll over Rapids

RSL Beats Colorado (USA TODAY Sports)

Photo by Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

 

By TYLER GRAY

SANDY, Utah. -Once again the smallest man on the pitch produced the biggest moment of the match and spurred Real Salt Lake to a series sweep.

RSL came back from a one-goal deficit, scoring three unanswered goals in the span of four minutes before adding a fourth immediately before the halftime whistle and another after the break to bury the Rapids, 5-1, in front of a capacity crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Goals came quickly and ferociously for the home side with Joao Plata opening the deluge in 32nd minute after receiving a backheel pass from midfielder Ned Grabavoy. RSL’s leading scorer took a touch and blasted a perfect shot into the upper 90, giving Rapids goalkeeper Joe Nasco no chance.

“That’s his shot,” midfielder Grabavoy said, describing Plata’s goal. “Heading that way and bending that ball to the back post, is his bread and butter. He’s been doing it all season. It was a great finish. Unbelieveable finish.”

Midfielder Luke Mulholland expressed that RSL was able to take advantage of another team letting up after scoring.

“When we go 1-0 up sometimes we take our foot off the gas and then they come at us,” Mulholland said. “So I think that helped us being 1-0 down, [we] turned it back up and the floodgates just opened.”

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Posted in Featured, MLS- Colorado Rapids, MLS- Real Salt Lake, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Brad Guzan of Aston Villa celebrates the opening goal. 0-1

Photo by Paul Greenwood/ISIphotos.com

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

Four games, three cleansheets. Brad Guzan and Aston Villa have gotten off to a dream start in the Premiership season, but will have to dig deep this weekend in order to extend their undefeated run to five games.

The Villans, who surprisingly sit in second place right now, host star-studded Arsenal on Saturday and are hoping to put forth another strong performance in order to stay near the top of the table in England’s top tier. Guzan will likely need to come up with another solid outing in goal for Aston Villa to have a shot at avoiding their first defeat of the year, and improve on their 3-0-1 record.

While Guzan is all but assured to start for his club, Julian Green is less of a certainty to do the same for his. Green’s loan club, cellar dwellers Hamburg, will lock horns with his parent club Bayern Munich on Saturday. That makes Green’s role unclear as Hamburg attempts to grab their first win of the season, especially since he struggled to find his footing in his Bundesliga debut last weekend.

If you’re in search of a match-up involving players from the Americans Abroad contingent, look no further than 1860 Munich’s clash with FC Ingolstadt. Recent U.S. Men’s National Team call-ups Bobby Wood and Alfredo Morales could both see time in the match, making for an intriguing battle between two of the prospects who are seeing consistent playing time in Europe right now.

Here is who the Americans Abroad square off against this weekend:

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 16 Comments