RaulRealMadrid1-AlSadd2013 (AFP)

Cosmos sign Spanish legend Raul

The New York Cosmos have announced the signing of Real Madrid legend Raul, who joins on a multi-year deal that includes a role as a technical adviser for the club’s new youth academy.

QatarStadiumAlGharafa1 (Getty)

Thursday Kickoff: Spring World Cup in Qatar promoted by ECA; Rooney set to return; and more

The top clubs in Europe have proposed to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to late April and May, instead of moving it to the winter, combined with late kick off times to avoid the heat.

Michel by Tim Heitman USA TODAY

Controversial PK goal lifts FC Dallas over Whitecaps

The Vancouver Whitecaps were undone by an unfortunate penalty call as FC Dallas advanced to the conference semifinals with a 2-1 victory.

Cosmos sign Spanish legend Raul

RaulRealMadrid1-AlSadd2013 (AFP)


One of the most decorated players in European soccer history is officially coming to the North American Soccer League next season.

The New York Cosmos announced on Thursday morning that Raul Gonzalez Blanco, better known just as Raul, has signed a multi-year contract with the club, and will start to play in the first team in the 2015 NASL season. Raul will also serve as a technical advisor for the club’s youth academy, and when he retires he’ll take over the academy in a full-time role.

“Everyone throughout the soccer world knows the Cosmos name and the legacy of the players that played for this team previously,” Raúl said in a statement released by the Cosmos. “They helped establish soccer in America and I’m honored to follow in their footsteps. I believe in this club’s vision and I’m excited to be a part of that.” 

The 37-year-old forward is following in the footsteps of his former Spanish National Team teammate, Marcos Senna, who has spent the last year and a half with the Cosmos, helping lead the team to the 2013 NASL Soccer Bowl.

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Posted in Featured, NASL, New York Cosmos | 1 Comment

Thursday Kickoff: Spring World Cup in Qatar promoted by ECA; Rooney set to return; and more

QatarStadiumAlGharafa1 (Getty)


Europe’s top clubs have proposed a wholly different World Cup scenario to move the 2022 World Cup out of the harsh summer conditions in Qatar, but still keep it away from moving to the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months.

The European Club Association, made up of 214 of Europe’s biggest teams including Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, has proposed that the World Cup should take place from late April through May 2022, allowing for the domestic seasons to be completed in mid-April, and any end-of-season cup competitions such as the FA Cup, Copa Del Rey, and DFB Pokal to finish after the World Cup.

“In our opinion, this proposal is the best option,” ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. “It takes into account the climate issue, while preserving the traditional running of a club football season. This proposal needs to be seriously considered by all stakeholders. It is an achievable solution.”

The ECA’s proposal calls for the 2022 World Cup to begin on April 28 and conclude with the final on May 29. Matches would kick off at 9 p.m., 11:30 p.m., and 2 a.m. the next morning local time (seven hours ahead of EST), in order to avoid the desert heat. Average temperatures in may range from a high of 95-105 degrees F to a low of 77-84 degrees F.

A FIFA task force is currently taking suggestions and proposals over potentially moving the timeline of the 2022 World Cup away standard World Cup dates. Proposals moving it to Nov./Dec. 2022 or Jan/Feb. 2022 have been weighed as well. FIFA vice president Shaikh Salman, who leads the task force, is expected to make a decision by March 2015.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer | Leave a comment

Controversial PK goal lifts FC Dallas over Whitecaps

Michel by Tim Heitman USA TODAY

Photo by Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports


Just days after scoring the goal that sent the Vancouver Whitecaps to the postseason, an unfortunate Kendall Waston handball proved to be the team’s demise.

The Costa Rican defender was called for a questionable handball in the 82nd minute, paving the way for a Michel penalty kick finish as FC Dallas topped the Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1, to book a spot in the Western Conference semifinals.

Waston’s penalty was an unlucky one, as the Whitecaps defender was struck in the arm after an FC Dallas throw-in took a big hop in the penalty area. Referee Mark Geiger had a clear view and almost immediately pointed to the spot, giving Michel the chance to seal his team a Sunday matchup with the Seattle Sounders.

The hosts opened the scoring in the 40th minute through Tesho Akindele, who smashed home a pass from Mauro Diaz to give FC Dallas the lead. Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS Playoffs, MLS- FC Dallas, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps | 35 Comments

Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind

Sacha Kljestan RSC Anderlecht 69


A season mired in frustration may have just taken a turn for the better.

Sacha Kljestan received his first start for Anderlecht across all competitions this season on Wednesday, and all he did was make an emphatic statement for more playing time by scoring the game-winner in a 3-2 triumph over Kortrijk. Kljestan netted his first goal of the season – also his first since February – in the 85th minute to give Anderlecht a two-goal cushion, but it stood as the decisive tally after the advantage was trimmed in half in stoppage time. The goal helped Anderlecht stay ahead of Gent and remain in the top spot in the Pro League table while also improving the veteran midfielder’s chances of adding to his five league appearances.

Terrence Boyd also got his name on the scoresheet Wednesday, as he came off the bench and opened his account with RB Leipzig. Boyd entered the 2. Bundesliga club’s DFB Pokal match against Erzgebirge Aue just after the hour-mark, and scored the insurance goal in the 3-1 win in extra-time. Boyd’s goal came in the 108th minute, and about two weeks after he recovered from an ACL injury that sidelined him during the first few months of the season.

Returning from a spell on the sidelines of his own, Aron Johannsson made his season debut on Wednesday. Johannsson was given the nod in AZ Alkmaar’s 5-0 KNVB Cup tilt with GVVV Veenendaal, and lasted 62 minutes before being replaced. The match marked the forward’s first competitive appearance since playing in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup opener in June, and since undergoing two separate surgeries to heal his ankle and groin.

Here is how the Americans Abroad fared during the midweek action:

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 7 Comments

Evening Ticker: Newcastle ousts Man City from Cup; Genoa stuns Juve; and more



The Manchester City squad that won last year’s League Cup in style is nowhere to be found, it seems.

Man City is out of the competition, suffering a stunning 2-0 home loss to an organized Newcastle United side Wednesday night.

The match fell apart for Man City quickly — just six minutes in, Newcastle’s Ryan Taylor stripped Fernandinho of the ball and set up Rolando Aarons for an early goal. Man City starter David Silva played just four minutes before exiting the match injured, requiring coach Manuel Pellegrini to use an early substitution.

It didn’t get much better from there for City. Looking sluggish and uninspired to equalize, Man City did better with possession but suffered from atrocious finishing.

Newcastle put the match out of reach in the 75th minute on a brilliant flash of individual effort from Moussa Sissoko, who shimmied through traffic to slot a shot in goal.

Making matters worse for Man City, Yaya Toure was also substituted after an apparent injury to his groin. Toure and Silva, who has a knee injury, will be evaluated on Thursday.

As Newcastle advances to the quarterfinals, it’s not a good look for City, a team that’s won just six of their first 15 games across all competitions this season.

Here are some more news items from overseas Wednesday night:

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Posted in European Soccer, International Soccer | 1 Comment

TFC coach Vanney: Klinsmann and Bradley might not see “eye to eye” on Bradley’s optimal position

MichaelBradleyJurgenKlinsmann1 (USATODAYSports)

Photo by Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports


The long-discussed argument over Michael Bradley’s best position is now playing out on a national team level.

In his end-of-season press conference, Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney revealed to local media that he had spoken with U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann since taking the job, though the conversation centered around where on the field Klinsmann believed Bradley should be playing.

Bradley, who normally has played more of a holding midfield role or box-to-box midfield role while with the USMNT and his various clubs in Europe and the USA, was pressed higher up the field into an attacking role during the World Cup after Jozy Altidore went down injured 21 minutes into the opening match against Ghana. Bradley received a fair bit of criticism during the World Cup despite playing a relatively new role. It seems though that it’s a role that Klinsmann would rather see Bradley play.

“I have spoken to Jurgen,” Vanney said. “Most of the conversation to be fair was Jurgen telling me how he thinks Michael should be played, and my conversations are more with Michael and how Michael feels he should be played.

“I think Jurgen feels he is a player who should be higher up the field, but I don’t know that Jurgen and Michael see things exactly eye to eye,” Vanney later added.

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Posted in Featured, MLS- Toronto FC, U.S. Men's National Team | 59 Comments