GalaxySounders1019 (USA Today Sports)

The SBI Show: Episode 173 (Talking CONCACAF Champions League, Previewing MLS Week 34, and more)

Episode 173 of The SBI Show looks back at the Major League Soccer’s disappointing showing in the CONCACAF Champions League, looks ahead to MLS Week 34, and more.

USWNT rolls past Mexico to qualify for World Cup

Led by a Carli Lloyd brace, the U.S. Women’s National Team qualified for the 2015 World Cup with a 3-0 win over Mexico Friday night.

Aron Johannsson AZ Alkmaar 29

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Aron Johannsson could make his official AZ Alkmaar return, Edgar Castillo seeks revenge, and more in this upcoming weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

The SBI Show: Episode 173 (Talking CONCACAF Champions League, Previewing MLS Week 34, and more)

GalaxySounders1019 (USA Today Sports)

 Photo by USA TODAY Sports



Major League Soccer fans will endure a wide range of emotions this week as the CONCACAF Champions League failures of some teams come just as other teams prepare to take important steps toward the MLS playoffs.

Episode 173 of The SBI Show takes a look back at a disappointing group stage for American MLS teams, with just one of four advancing to the CCL quarterfinals after Sporting KC and Portland were eliminated. D.C. United join the Montreal Impact as the lone MLS representatives in the knockout rounds.

Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also look ahead at MLS Week 34, including the key Seattle Sounders-LA Galaxy clash, as well as the New York Red Bulls’ visit to Sporting Kansas City. We also discuss the season’s first edition of ‘El Clasico’, between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and more.

Give Episode 173 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, Podcasts, U.S. Men's National Team, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sinama-Pongolle scores late winner to lead Fire over Dynamo


Photo by Guy Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports


As Friday’s matchup with the Houston Dynamo headed into extra time, the Chicago Fire looked destined to extend their MLS record with their 19th draw of the season. However, a late goal from Florent Sinama-Pongolle ensured the Fire would close out the season with a maximum three points.

Sinama-Pogalle scored in stoppage time in midfielder Logan Pause’s sendoff game, as the Fire picked up a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo, who saw the Dominic Kinnear end in a loss.

The Frenchman’s winner came in the 91st minute via a cross form midfielder Grant Ward, as Sinama-Pogalle’s near post run was rewarded with a pinpoint ball from Ward. Sinama-Pogalle responded with a thumping header to lock up a late victory for the Fire. Continue reading »

Posted in MLS- Chicago Fire, MLS- Houston Dynamo | Leave a comment

College Weekend Preview: Creighton vs. Georgetown, Louisville vs. Clemson headline week 9

Fabian Herbers 5894

Photo by Creighton Athletics


SBI No. 7 Creighton and Big East Offensive Player of the Week Fabian Herbers will host No. 15 Georgetown Saturday, and they will be searching for their first win against a ranked conference foe this season.

The Blue Jays only have one loss on the year, but they were defeated by Saint Louis midway through and drew against Xavier Sunday. Only one of their wins has come against ranked opposition, and that was against Stanford in their opening match in August .

They have a tough four days ahead, as they play the Hoyas and No. 8 Marquette, but Herbers will try to lead his side after scoring in both matches last weekend. The Hoyas have not looked like their former self in their past two matches, suffering losses to both Providence and Seton Hall, but they will be looking to bounce back Saturday.

Friday, No. 23 Louisville faces off against Clemson, who topped No. 13 Coastal Carolina during the week (ESPN3, 7:30 p.m.). Since losing four consecutive matches, the Cardinals have rebounded, winning three in a row and topping Syracuse last Friday.

Clemson ended the Chanticleers eight-game winning streak Tuesday and will now hope to ruin the Cardinals momentum.

Marquette and Xavier will meet in another marquee Big East matchup Saturday. The Golden Eagles have struggled as of late, winning only once in their last five matches. Conversely, the Musketeers are eager to stretch their good form. They are unbeaten in eight games played.

Finally, No. 2 UCLA, who claimed first place in the Pac-12 with their second win over Washington Thursday, will play a side, Oregon State, they dominated Sunday.

The Beavers won during the midweek against San Diego State, but they must face star midfielder Leo Stolz, who provided another assist against the Huskies and will surely be a harder task for them to handle.

Check out a rundown of this weekend’s top college matches: Continue reading »

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USWNT rolls past Mexico to qualify for World Cup

Lloyd vs Mex by Bill Streicher USA TODAY
Photo by Bill Striecher/USA TODAY Sports


As if there was ever really any doubt, the U.S. Women’s National Team will be in Canada for the World Cup next summer.

A dominant USWNT cruised past Mexico in PPL Park on Friday, 3-0, assuring the Americans a spot in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Mexico is not out of it as they can still qualify.

As has been the case throughout this CONCACAF qualifying tournament, the USWNT looked dominant but let chance after chance go by. The Americans out-shot Mexico, 21-to-1.

“Overall, this tournament has been great and it’s taught us a lot,” brace-scorer Carli Lloyd told Fox Sports afterward. “We’ve been playing against bunker teams.”

Indeed, Mexico looked less interested in scoring goals than there were in minimizing USWNT goals. They had some help, as the Americans hit the woodwork three times on the night and failed to capitalize on several Mexican back line breakdowns.

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Posted in Featured, U.S. Women's National Team, Women's Soccer | 3 Comments

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Aron Johannsson AZ Alkmaar 29


If Aron Johannnsson’s performance for AZ Alkmaar’s reserves earlier this week was any indication, he might just be ready to make his competitive return.

Johannsson made his way back from groin and ankle injuries on Monday by scoring in a reserve game for AZ, and that outing could help convince the coaching staff that he is healthy enough to partake in the club’s league encounter with FC Groningen on Saturday. The 23-year-old forward has not seen time in a competitive match since making his lone World Cup appearance in June, and is likely champing at the bit to get back in the mix to help an AZ side that is currently in ninth place in the Eredivisie.

While Johannsson will be focused on trying to make his comeback official, Edgar Castillo will be out for payback. Castillo and his club, Atlas, were eliminated from the Copa MX by Puebla on Wednesday, but the two sides will coincidentally meet again in a league fixture on Saturday that is sure to be plenty intense. Michael Orozco did not feature for Puebla in the midweek match, but should resume playing in his regular starting spot this weekend to make the clash with Castillo and Atlas even more intriguing.

Another potential match-up abroad involving Americans could take place in Germany, as Hertha Berlin and Hamburg lock horns on Saturday. Brooks seems the more likely of the two U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup scorers to start, but there is a chance Green could too given that he has had another week to fully heal the bruised ribs that have troubled him in recent weeks.

Here is who the Americans Abroad battle this weekend: Continue reading »

Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 11 Comments

Holden releases open letter to fans; reiterates commitment to return

StuartHoldenBolton1-Sunderland2013 (Getty)



Just nine words into his open letter, U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Stuart Holden made his intentions very clear: retirement is not an option.

The 29-year-old midfielder, who has been battling injuries for a majority of the past four seasons, reiterated his desire to battle back from his ailments in an open letter released on ESPN on Friday.

“Of course, I am constantly being asked about my future by fans, friends, teammates and coaches. My answer is: I need time,” Holden said. “Time to heal, time to work hard, time to prepare, and time for a comeback of epic proportions. I will continue to tackle this challenge with great fortitude and I can’t wait to prove to all of you, but mostly myself, that this is possible!

“I thank all of my supporters for their continued inspiration and motivation, because without you I wouldn’t be where I am. Stay tuned, because this isn’t over yet.”

Check out a video of Holden discussing his return after the jump:

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 23 Comments