Zelalem included in Arsenal roster for Red Bulls friendly

By FRANCO PANIZO U.S. Men’s National Team fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Arsenal prospect Gedion Zelalem might get that opportunity this weekend. Zelalem was included in the 20-man roster that the Gunners named for Saturday’s high-profile friendly against […]

Summer international friendly schedule kicks into full swing

Clubs from across Europe and Mexico will be playing international friendlies in the USA this summer and action kicks into full gear tonight, with the LA Galaxy meeting Manchester United and Sporting KC facing Manchester City.

Dynamo sign DaMarcus Beasley

U.S. Men’s National Team veteran DaMarcus Beasley has returned to Major League Soccer, signing with the Houston Dynamo.

Man United thrash Galaxy in Rose Bowl friendly

DannyWelbeckManUnited1-LAGalaxy2014Friendly (AP)

By MARK EDWARD HORNISH

PASADENA, Calif – If anyone wanted to assess where American soccer stands in comparison to the European football, they need not look at the lopsided result on the scoreboard at the Rose Bowl, where the LA Galaxy hosted international giants Manchester United on a warm Wednesday night in Pasadena.

A glance into the stands would tell all. The Red Devils red souvenir shirts outnumbered Galaxy white by at least 10-1. And most of the fans wearing Man United colors, and singing Man United songs, were speaking with American accents.

Man United humbled the LA Galaxy, 7-0, before an announced crowd of 86,432, most of them supporting MUFC, behind a Wayne Rooney first half brace. Rooney converted a penalty kick to double the Man United lead in the 26th minute, and then enjoyed a gift goal on a horrid Galaxy back line blunder shortly before the half to put the game beyond reach.

Danny Welbeck opened the scoring for the Red Devils in the 13th minute with a muscular left-footed blast from thirty yards out to dent the post and beat Galaxy goal keeper Jaime Penedo.

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Posted in European Soccer, Major League Soccer, MLS- LA Galaxy | 1 Comment

Man City cruise to victory over Sporting KC

Kelechi Iheanacho, Benny Feilhaber

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By TATE STEINLAGE 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Manchester City has added an extra piece of silverware to its trophy cabinet. The first of its 2014-15 campaign.

In a battle reigning league champions, Manchester City captured the Champions Shield with an easy 4-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City in front of a crowd of 18,484 at Sporting Park.

The Sky Blues struck early and consistently, finding the back twice each half, while Sporting KC saw just one attempt find the back of the net on a night where 41 different players saw the field.

“It’s a great team for us to play for a number of reasons,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said after the match. “Obviously for us our focus is the league. We’re playing a big game on Saturday and that’s where our concentration was and is. Our biggest thing was that we wanted to get out of here unscathed, (because) as you know we’ve had quite a few injuries over the course of the season. From that perspective, everybody got out of there with no injuries, which is great.

“It was a good environment. It was a good game for us. It was a good 45 minutes for both groups, (and) it was good experience. Now we get focused on the game we have to get ready for and that’s Toronto.”

Manchester City needed just three minutes to kick off its U.S tour with a goal. Bruno Zuculini was able to take advantage of a botched clearance and fire a wonder strike past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Dom Dwyer nearly equalized the match moments later with a fine goal himself, but the play was correctly ruled offside by the assistant referee.

The rally would finally pay off in the 30th minute, though, as CJ Sapong put away Sporting KC’s lone goal of the evening. As it was so many times last week, the sequence was a result of the excellent service of Benny Feilhaber. The midfielder spotted Sapong’s perfectly-timed run and connected exquisitely to set up the calm finish.

Manchester City would regain the lead seconds before the halftime whistle on a Dedryck Boyata header and would not look back from there.

Sporting KC threw 12 different players at Manchester City in the second half — 11 of which out of the halftime break — and the Sky Blues responded with two goals in the final 15 minutes from Aleksandar Kolarov and Kelechi Iheanacho to secure the Champions Shield trophy and a first victory on American soil in 2014.

“I think that today the people who came to the stadium saw a good game, especially in the first 45 minutes when the two teams played with their best player,” Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said after the match. “I think that for us it was very useful because when Sporting KC changed the 11 players for the second half it was useful because it was a very physical game when we’re now in preseason.

“The score of the game doesn’t matter, I think it’s always important to win. I understand that Sporting KC was thinking of the weekend and their very important game against Toronto. For us we have a lot of players at the moment who aren’t with our squad so its useful that the other players have a chance to demonstrate what they can do.”

Manchester City will now travel to Pittsburg to face AC Milan in the opening game of their International Champions Cup campaign. Sporting KC will look to regroup after the loss as they head to Toronto for a weekend clash against Toronto FC.

Posted in European Soccer, Major League Soccer, MLS- Sporting Kansas City | 6 Comments

Zelalem included in Arsenal roster for Red Bulls friendly

GedionZelalemArsenal1-CoventryCity (Getty)

By FRANCO PANIZO

U.S. Men’s National Team fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Arsenal prospect Gedion Zelalem might get that opportunity this weekend.

Zelalem was included in the 20-man roster that the Gunners named for Saturday’s high-profile friendly against the New York Red Bulls. The 17-year-old midfielder appears to have a decent chance at seeing some minutes in Arsenal’s preseason game at Red Bull Arena, as marquee players like Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and recently-acquired Alexis Sanchez are not in the squad.

Arsenal’s roster might be missing some star power, but still boasts plenty of quality. Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szcsesny, and Mathieu Flamini have all been included in the squad that will play in the Gunners’ first game in the United States in 25 years.

Plenty of eyeballs will be on Red Bulls strikers Thierry Henry as he faces his former club, but many of observers will also be hoping to see Zelalem in action after seeing him make his first-team debut with Arsenal back in January in an FA Cup win against Coventry City.

Born in Germany to parents of Ethiopian descent, Zelalem is a highly-coveted target of U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The youngster, who signed a first-team contract this past March, might eligible to represent the United States in the near future if his father obtains U.S. citizenship.

Here is the full 20-man Arsenal roster for the upcoming friendly vs. the Red Bulls:

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Posted in Americans Abroad, European Soccer, Featured | 25 Comments

U.S. Soccer National Training Center heading to Kansas City

Sporting Club and U.S. Soccer

By TATE STEINLAGE 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The U.S. Soccer Federation is heading to this burgeoning soccer mecca in a major way.

Joined by the United Government of Wyandotte County and representatives from Schlitterbahn Water Park and EPR Properties Wednesday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Sporting Kansas City CEO Robb Heineman announced the development of a U.S. Soccer National Training Center complex in Kansas City, Kan.

The new $75-plus million, 100,000 square-feet project will house the National Training and Coaching Development Center and feature 16 fields for professional and youth teams. The complex will also include a 125-room full-service hotel and facilities tailored towards strength and nutrition.

“This is a great opportunity for us to continue to grow soccer in Kansas City and further establish being the soccer capital of America,” Heineman said in a press release. “To us, this is equivalent to bringing another sports franchise here, with the ultimate goal of helping the United States win the World Cup through youth soccer development, coaching training, advanced sports science and world-class facilities. We would like to thank Governor Brownback, Secretary of Commerce George, Mayor Holland and the rest of the Unified Government. This has been a long and complex process thus far, but we’re excited for the vision of the project and to help bring substantial economic development to the area.”

“Player and coaching development is a main focus for U.S. Soccer, and we are pleased that Sporting Club is pursuing a world-class training facility to help the sport continue to grow and advance,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in the same release. “We are looking forward to working with Sporting Club on the next steps towards the creation of the National Training and Coaching Development Center and anticipate it hosting our National Teams and coaching education programming in the future.”

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Posted in MLS- Sporting Kansas City, U.S. Soccer | 44 Comments

Summer international friendly schedule kicks into full swing

David Silva of Manchester City takes on Wayne Rooney of Manchester United

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Many of the world’s best players and teams will be making their home in the USA for the next two weeks as they prepare for their upcoming seasons, and tonight will feature the first batch of intriguing friendlies.

The Los Angeles Galaxy take on Manchester United tonight, while Sporting Kansas City faces Manchester City in a pair of high-profile match-ups featuring MLS sides.

Clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and AS Roma are all making the trip across the ocean to take on each other and a few MLS teams as part of their pre-season training programs. Tottenham already started things off last Saturday with a friendly match against the Seattle Sounders and the international friendlies will continue through Aug. 12, when Real Salt Lake hosts Club Tijuana.

Some of the highlights of this summer’s friendly schedule include Real Madrid vs. Man United in the Big House, Man City vs. Sporting KC at Sporting Park, and the MLS All Stars vs. Bayern Munich in Portland.

Here’s a look at this summer’s friendlies in the USA and how to catch them on TV:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, Major League Soccer | 20 Comments

Dynamo sign DaMarcus Beasley

DaMarcusBeasleyUSMNTCamp (ISIPhotos.com)

The Houston Dynamo’s trade to acquire the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order figured to mean the arrival of a U.S. Men’s National Team player, and it didn’t take long to find out that the player in question was none other than veteran DaMarcus Beasley.

The Dynamo announced the signing of Beasley on Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours after completing the deal that sent midfielder Warren Creavalle to Toronto FC in exchange for the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order, which gave Houston the opportunity to sign Beasley.

Beasley joins the Dynamo as a Designated Player, Houston’s third along with Oscar Boniek Garcia and Alex Lopez.

The first American to play in four World Cups, Beasley is coming off an outstanding performance at the 2014 World Cup, and gives the Dynamo another dangerous left-footed weapon to go with Brad Davis and Corey Ashe. Beasley’s arrival could free up Davis to play in a central midfield role, as well as spelling Ashe at left back as well.

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Posted in Featured, MLS- Houston Dynamo, U.S. Men's National Team | 24 Comments

Report: Adu set to sign with Serbian club

Freddy Adu Bahia (Bahia)

By DAN KARELL

Freddy Adu’s next career destination could be in Eastern Europe.

Goal USA is reporting that Adu is preparing to sign with Serbian side FK Jagodina, ending a seven-month run without a club after he was released by EC Bahia in Brazil. Jagodina finished third in the Serbian league last season and is taking part in UEFA Europa League qualifiers for the third straight season.

Adu is expected to attend Jagodina’s Europa League second round qualifying match against CFR Cluj on Thursday and then sign his contract on Friday or Saturday, according to the report.

The 25-year-old midfielder reportedly decided on Jagodina after weighing other offers from Sweden, India, and AEL Limmasol in Cyprus, who are currently taking part in UEFA Champions League qualification.

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Posted in Americans Abroad, European Soccer, Featured | 102 Comments

Dynamo land top allocation spot from TFC

DaMarcus Beasley

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

The Houston Dynamo moved another step closer to clinching the signing of DaMarcus Beasley.

Reports in both Mexico and the USA have stated that Beasley was set to move to the Dynamo as a free agent signing this summer, but in order to sign him, the Dynamo needed to move to the top of the allocation order. The Dynamo did just that on Wednesday afternoon, sending midfielder Warren Creavalle and the No. 14 position in the allocation order to Toronto FC in exchange for allocation money and the No. 1 spot.

The deal now paves the way for Beasley to sign with Major League Soccer and be allocated to the Dynamo, where he would team up with U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup teammate Brad Davis. The Dynamo issued a “no comment” statement on Tuesday when asked about the reports linking the club and the 32-year-old Fort Wayne, Ind. native.

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- Toronto FC | 46 Comments