Soccer By Ives The world of soccer with an American voice Thu, 02 Oct 2014 04:28:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SBI Wednesday Rewind: Rumors of Henry leaving Red Bulls; Vegas MLS efforts revived; and more Thu, 02 Oct 2014 03:59:12 +0000 Continue reading »]]>  

ThierryHenryVsSportingKC (USA Today Sports)

A report out Wednesday said Thierry Henry won’t return to the New York Red Bulls next year — but that could be the least of the club’s problems. Red Bull is reportedly reining in spending associated with its Major League Soccer franchise and may not be keen to stay in the league at all.

Meanwhile, the efforts to build an MLS stadium in Las Vegas had run into some problems, but all hope isn’t lost. The city council there is giving developers until December to finalize a plan to build the $200 million stadium without public funds. If the plan comes together, that may put a Vegas MLS expansion bid firmly back on the table.

And the group of players accusing FIFA of discrimination have finally followed through on their threats and sued over the Women’s World Cup being played on artificial turf. The filing, which SBI has posted, was filed in Ontario, Canada on Wednesday.

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

Report: “Zero chance” Henry remains with Red Bulls following season

Las Vegas City Council votes to extend soccer stadium deadline to December

MLS Ticker: Orlando City to play three preseason games in Brazil; Pogatetz could make debut; and more

NYCFC’s Villa to join up with Melbourne City next Tuesday

SBI MLS Player of the Month: Obafemi Martins

SBI MLS Team of the Month: LA Galaxy

Women’s World Cup discriminatory lawsuit filed against CSA and FIFA

USWNT to play in four-team December tournament in Brazil

UCL Rewind: Atletico hold off Juventus; Liverpool fall to Basel; and more

UCL Preview: Arsenal look to rebound vs. Galatasaray; Atleti visit Juventus; and more

Tuesday College Rewind: North Carolina Falls To UNC Wilmington, Georgetown Tops Maryland, And More

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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Women’s World Cup discriminatory lawsuit filed against CSA and FIFA Wed, 01 Oct 2014 23:00:46 +0000 Continue reading »]]> Abby Wambach

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U.S. Women’s National Team star Abby Wambach wasn’t kidding when she threatened legal action against FIFA for forcing the world’s top female stars to play a World Cup on artificial turf.

After weeks of threats, attorneys representing some of the world’s most high-profile women’s soccer players have filed an anti-discrimination lawsuit against both FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association due to plans for artificial turf will be used at the 2015 Women’s World Cup. The plaintiffs include USWNT members Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Heather O’Reilly, German National Team goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, Fabiana of Brazil and 14 other players representing 11 national teams.

The suit has been filed in the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, with a request to expedite the proceedings in order for them to be heard in short time.

“Two months ago, attorneys for a coalition of leading players informed officials from the Canadian Soccer Association and FIFA that forcing the 2015 women’s World Cup to take place on artificial turf rather than grass was not only wrong but also constituted illegal sex discrimination,” said a statement Wednesday from attorney Hampton Dillinger, who is representing the players. “Men’s World Cup tournament matches are played on natural grass while CSA and FIFA are relegating female players to artificial turf. The difference matters: plastic pitches alter how the game is played, pose unique safety risks and are considered inferior for international competition.”

“Through public statements and private communications the players and their lawyers have clearly signaled to CSA and FIFA that we want to resolve the ‘turf war’ through good faith negotiations rather than litigation. CSA and FIFA have ignored these overtures. As a result, the players have no choice but to initiate the legal action filed today. Whatever happens in court, CSA and FIFA have lost any claim to being good stewards of the women’s game — until they correct their mistake.”

In the application, filed to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the plaintiffs allege that the respondents, FIFA and the CSA, are committing a violation of the Ontario Human Right’s Code by forcing the 2015 Women’s World Cup to be played primarily on artificial surface.

The brief lays out a whole host of ways that FIFA and/or the CSA have pledged to be anti-discriminatory, only in action to do the opposite. The CSA has continued to ensure that men’s World Cup qualification games take place on grass fields, with a 2012 report in the New York Times stating that the artificial turf at two Women’s World Cup venues, BC Place in Vancouver and Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, was a “deal-breaker” that kept the Canadian National Team away from playing qualification matches there.

The brief also alleges that FIFA conducted a survey in 2013 of 190 “elite women’s soccer players” on their preference between turf or grass, with FIFA apparently indicating that it would take into account the response from the players. While 77 percent reportedly stated that major tournaments “should be played on natural turf,” both FIFA and the CSA have pushed ahead with the 2015 Women’s World Cup taking place on artificial turf. FIFA, however, has denied the survey would determine decisions for the 2015 World Cup and it was merely meant for information gathering.

FIFA hired an independent consultant to examine the playing surfaces in the six host cities in Montreal, Moncton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver, a process that started this week. But asked about the inspections, a FIFA representation made it clear that FIFA’s stance is turf or bust.

“We play on artificial turf and there’s no Plan B,” Tatjana Haenni, FIFA’s deputy director of the competitions division and head of women’s competitions, told the CBC on Tuesday.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s past trend of comments has done little to quiet critics who have voiced concerns about FIFA treating women’s soccer fairly compared to men’s soccer. As recently as Aug. 5, on the eve of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada, where Blatter said, “artificial pitches are the future,” he made another comment viewed by many as offensive to women in soccer.

“Football is very macho,” Blatter said, when asked what he was doing to promote women in FIFA. “It’s so difficult to accept [women] in the game. Not playing the game, but in the governance.”

Read the legal filings, obtained by SBI, below:

Legal facts and argument / letter

Request to expedite letter / form


What do you think of this development. Did you expect the players to actually file a lawsuit? Think they have a good chance at winning a judgement?

Share your thoughts below.

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Las Vegas City Council votes to extend soccer stadium deadline to December Wed, 01 Oct 2014 22:00:01 +0000 Continue reading »]]> LasVegasStadium_Exterior (FindlaySportsLV)


The partnership that wants to bring a Major League Soccer team to Las Vegas has two more months to figure out how they plan to finance the stadium they want built for the team.

Las Vegas City Council voted on Wednesday, 6-1, to give the Findlay Sports and Entertainment and the Cordish Companies until December to finalize a finance plan for a proposed $200 million stadium in Symphony Park. The two-month extension was only approved with a condition that no public money would be used to build the stadium. Councilman Stavros Anthony was the only no vote.

Under the current terms of the proposal, 75 percent of the stadium costs will be covered by public funding, which councilwoman Louis Tarkanian is reportedly completely against. In addition, the plan calls for the city to issue $50 million in bonds that would be paid back in 30 years with $3 million payments per year in hotel taxes.

However, the city would likely have to pledge general fund revenues to secure enough bondholders to trust that they’ll be repaid the $90 million they’re owed, according to Las Vegas financial consultant Guy Hobbs, via the Las Vegas Review Journal.

“In all likelihood, the city will pledge general tax revenues to secure those bonds because this source of revenue (collected room tax fees) can be renegotiated and theoretically go away and not be a revenue source that would a good pledge,” Hobbs told the Review Journal. “Bondholders want to make sure that the money they have paid for the bonds will be repaid to them without fail over the life of the 30 years. You pledge a source of revenue to repay … What ultimately is at risk is the general tax revenues.”

Cordish Companies reportedly added another incentive for City Council to approve the stadium proposal. Cordish Chief Operating Officer Zed Smith stated at the meeting that the company would spend $250 million in commercial and real estate development next to the stadium, adding to the local economy.

The latest stadium proposal term sheet calls for an open-air, 19,000-24,000 seat stadium with an artificial turf surface. The stadium would use “shade feature” to keep the harsh desert sun off the spectators. The average temperature in March is 71 degrees F, to 105 degrees F in July, and down to a paltry 83 degrees F in October.

Findlay and the Cordish Cos. now have until Dec. 17 to draft and submit to City Council a proposed development agreement that includes a detailed financial summary of the stadium financing plan.


What do you think of this development? Do you believe the stadium could be built entirely with private funds? Do you see MLS expanding to Las Vegas?

Share your thoughts below.

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Report: “Zero chance” Henry remains with Red Bulls following season Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:55:10 +0000 Continue reading »]]> ThierryHenryNewYorkRedBulls3-MontrealImpactMLS2014 (USATODAYSports)

Photo by Jim O’Connor/USA TODAY Sports Images


Though there’s been no clear indications from the man himself, it’s looking more and more likely that this season will be the last for Thierry Henry in a New York Red Bulls uniform.

According to an report, there is “zero chance” that Henry will sign an extension with the Red Bulls after the conclusion of the 2014 MLS season. At 37 years old, Henry is on the precipice of retirement, and plenty of people have speculated that he could finish out his career with the club he’s most associated with, Arsenal.

The report, which cites a single unnamed source, states that part of the reason Henry won’t stay with the club is because Red Bull GMBH cut back on expenditures on their soccer properties outside of Europe. With falling revenues and a focus on teams closer to Red Bull headquarters in Austria, the report adds that the organization would even be willing to sell the New York Red Bulls if an offer came in at the right price.

The source claimed that if a buyer bid $300 million for the Red Bulls and their arena, Red Bull in Austria would finalize the deal “within 48 hours.” The club even were in talks in the past, the report states, to selling to a New Jersey-based investor group and then to Manchester City before the latter partnered with the New York Yankees and were awarded an expansion franchise in May 2013 for New York City FC.

Last August, reported that “some within the league are starting to doubt whether Red Bull will still be involved in MLS 10 years from now.”

For the fourth consecutive transfer window, the Red Bulls failed to sign a third Designated Player, despite seemingly having the resources and setting to be able to land a high-profile star willing to come stateside.


What do you think of this report? Would you be surprised if Henry left the Red Bulls, or feel it is inevitable? Do you see Red Bull selling the club within the next ten years?

Share your thoughts below.

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UCL Rewind: Atletico hold off Juventus; Liverpool fall to Basel; and more Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:50:03 +0000 Continue reading »]]> Turan-ISIPhotos

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In a clash between a pair of reigning champions, Atletico Madrid emerged victorious.

The reigning La Liga winners topped Italian champions Juventus, 1-0, via a second-half finish from Arda Turan at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

The Turkish midfielder’s finish came in the 74th minute on a close range tap in from a Juanfran cross. The Atletico fullback’s ball soared across the Juventus box and into the path of Turan, who tapped home past a helpless Gianluigi Buffon for the game’s lone goal.

Turan’s finish, which was the first goal that Juventus had conceded this season in all competitions, pushes Group A into a four way tie with Atletico, Juventus, Malmo and Olympiakos all tied with three points apiece.

Here’s a closer look at the rest of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League action:


Liverpool’s visit to Basel Wednesday served as a perfect example of the issues that have plagued the Reds throughout the start of their season.

After a string of shaky results, Liverpool were once again undone by set pieces and a lack of timely scoring in a 1-0 loss to Swiss side Basel.

The game’s lone goal came in the 53rd minute, as Basel’s Marco Streller converted off a rebound off a Basel corner. Basel midfielder Taulant Xhaka won the initial header off the set piece, but Liverpool goalkeeper palmed the ball away from net and into the path of Streller, who finished past a prone Mignolet to earn Basel the victory.


After winning a miracle penalty kick shootout to earn a place in the group stages, Ludogorets’ fairy tale tournament run looked set to continue thanks to an early goal and a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty miss.

However, it was not to be for the Belarussian side, as Ronaldo and Karim Benzema each scored in a 2-1 Real Madrid victory.

Ludogorets opened the scoring just six minutes in through midfielder Marcelinho before Ronaldo missed his first penalty of the game just five minutes later. However, the Portuguese star regained his confidence from the spot in the 25th minute by converting a penalty kick, while Benzema sealed the victory with a 77th minute winner.


Just weeks after Manchester United decided that he was not up to standards, Danny Welbeck paid dividends to new club Arsenal.

The English forward bagged a hat-trick to lead the Gunners to a 4-1 victory at the Emirates over Turkish side Galatasaray.

Welbeck’s trio of finishes were joined by a goal from fellow summer signing Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal cruised to a 4-0 advantage. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was shown a red card for a challenge in the 60th minute, paving the way for a Galatasaray consolation goal from Burak Yilmaz.

Here’s a full rundown of Wednesday’s results:


Atletico Madrid 1 – 0 Juventus

Malmo FF 2 – 0 Olympiakos


Basel 1 – 0 Liverpool

Ludogorets 1 – 2 Real Madrid


Zenit 0 – 0 Monaco

Bayer Leverkusen 3 – 1 Benfica


Anderlecht 0 – 3 Borussia Dortmund

Arsenal 4 – 1 Galatasaray

What were your thoughts on today’s action? Which teams impressed you most?

Share your thoughts below.

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USWNT to play in four-team December tournament in Brazil Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:36:51 +0000 Continue reading »]]> Megan Rapinoe. Sydney Leroux

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Ahead of the next summer’s World Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team have scheduled a December tournament to fine-tune their game against some of the world’s top teams.

U.S. Soccer announced Wednesday that the USWNT will participate in the four-team International Tournament of Brasilia in December. Joining the U.S. will be hosts Brazil, as well as China PR and Argentina. Brazil and China PR have both qualified for the 2015 World Cup.

The tournament is set to take place in the National Stadium Mane Garrincha, which hosted seven of this past summer’s World Cup contests.

The U.S. will open play against China PR on Dec. 10 before taking on Brazil and Argentina on Dec. 14 and 17, respectively. The round-robin tournament will then conclude on Dec. 21 when the top two sides square off four the tournament’s championship while the two remaining sides play for third place.

“Historically, we’ve had a two-week December training camp to finish the year,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis, “but getting the opportunity to get four international matches, as well as some excellent training at facilities that hosted teams in the World Cup this past summer, was too good to pass up.”

Before focusing on next summer’s World Cup, the U.S. face October’s World Cup qualifying group stage, where they will take on Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala and Haiti.

Take a look at the full schedule for the International Tournament of Brasilia below:

Dec. 10

USA vs. China PR

Brazil vs. Argentina

Dec. 14

Argentina vs. China PR

Brazil vs. USA

Dec. 17

USA vs. Argentina

Brazil vs. China PR

Dec. 21

Third-Place Match

Championship Match

What do you think of the upcoming tournament? How do you think the U.S. will fare in Brazil? Is this a good test for the USWNT as they look ahead to the World Cup next year?

Share your thoughts below.

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Tuesday College Rewind: North Carolina Falls To UNC Wilmington, Georgetown Tops Maryland, And More Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:41:49 +0000 Continue reading »]]> NCAAMensSoccerLogo1 (NCAA)


SBI No. 6 North Carolina suffered their third consecutive defeat Tuesday, as they fell 3-4 to UNC Wilmington Tuesday night. Scoring a brace, Jamie Dell led the way for the Seahawks in front of a record crowd of 2,613.

The Tar Heels’ Rob Lovejoy scored in the 8th minute, but a flurry of goals from Alexander Schlobohm, Dell and Colin Bonner would lead the 8-1-1 Seahawks to victory. Verneri Valimaa and Alan Winn added the other two goals for the Tar Heels, but they watched their record fall to 5-4 this season.

After advancing to the championship game last year, Maryland most likely expected another good run this season. However, the Terrapins struggles continued Tuesday night.

No. 7 Georgetown topped Maryland 1-0, with the game-winning goal being scored by junior Brandon Allen. The Terrapins are now 3-4-2, while the Hoyas are 6-1-3, after winning four consecutive matches.

Meanwhile, Charlotte continued their impressive season with a 3-1 win over William & Mary. David Mayer, Hans Honer and Kyle Parker provided the goals for the 49ers, while William Eskay scored the lone goal for the Tribe. Dominic Bonilla provided another assist for the 49ers, as they improve to 7-1 this season.

Here is a closer look at Tuesday’s results:

Navy 1, (5) George Mason 1. (Recap)

UNC Wilmington 4, (6) North Carolina 3. (Recap)

Maryland 0, (7) Georgetown 1.  (Recap)

(10) Notre Dame 1, VCU 0. (Recap)

(19) Creighton 2, UMKC 0. (Recap)

(20) Louisville 0, Ohio State 1. (Recap)

(21) Virginia 2, James Madison 1. (Recap)

North Carolina State 1, (24) Coastal Carolina 3 (Recap)

Charlotte 3, William & Mary 1. (Recap)

Delaware 0, UMBC 1. (Recap)

Furman 0, UNC Greensboro 0. (Recap)

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SBI MLS Player of the Month: Obafemi Martins Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:15:07 +0000 Continue reading »]]> Martins-FC Dallas-USAToday

Photo by Matthew Emmons/ USA TODAY Sports


When Obafemi Martins scores, the Seattle Sounders don’t lose and, luckily for the Sounders, Martins did plenty of scoring throughout the month of September.

The Nigerian forward scored five September goals, extending the Sounders streak to 11-0-0 when Martins finds the back of the net. Martins goalscoring form was enough to keep the Sounders in the Supporters’ Shield race and earn the star forward recognition as SBI MLS Player of the Month.

September opened with a bang for Martins, who scored a pair of goals in a 4-2 victory over Chivas USA before adding another in a victory over Real Salt Lake. Two goalless games followed before Martins exploded against Chivas USA yet again by scoring a pair and adding an assist as the cherry on top of a spectacular month.

Martins beat out a talented field of MLS stars, including Lee Nguyen, Landon Donovan and Diego Valeri, for September’s honors.

What did you think of Martins’ September performances? Which player stood out to you this past month?

Share your thoughts below.

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SBI MLS Team of the Month: LA Galaxy Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:28:13 +0000 Continue reading »]]> Galaxy-Rapids-USAToday

 Photo by Kirby Lee/ USA TODAY Sports


Led by Landon Donovan, Gyassi Zardes and Robbie Keane, the LA Galaxy spent the month of September outmatching, outwitting and, most importantly, outscoring nearly everyone in their path.

The Galaxy, who have lost only once since July 20, stormed through September with a 4-2-0 record by overwhelming opponents with a +11 goal differential. The overall performance made the Galaxy an easy choice for SBI MLS Team of the Month.

After ending August with a thrashing of Chivas USA, the Galaxy opened September with a 6-0 rout of the Colorado Rapids. The Galaxy then picked up two draws, before taking out playoff contenders FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls, 2-1 and 4-0, respectively.

With the attacking trio of Donovan, Zardes and Keane combining to score 11 of the team’s 15 September goals, the Galaxy are peaking at the right time as the regular season enters its final stretch.

The Galaxy beat out out the Columbus Crew, New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls for this month’s honors.

What did you think of the Galaxy’s performances throughout September? What team’s impressed you most this past month?

Share your thoughts below.

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Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:07:07 +0000 Continue reading »]]> AtleticoMadridJuanfranKoke1-Sevilla (Getty)


The UEFA Champions League is back for a repeat performance Wednesday with a slate of eight afternoon games.

Wednesday’s action is headlined by a clash of reigning champions as Juventus head to Spain to take on Atletico Madrid. The Colchoneros welcome back head coach Diego Simeone to the coaches box after serving a ban, and the squad are high on morale after a 4-0 thrashing of Sevilla last Saturday.

Also in Champions League action, Arsenal host Galatasaray as the Gunners look to win their first match of the campaign, Real Madrid travel to minnows Ludogorets, and Liverpool hit the road to take on FC Basel.

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):

12 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3 – FC Zenit vs. AS Monaco

2:45 p.m. – Fox Sports 1 – Arsenal vs. Galatasaray

2:45 p.m. – ESPN 2 – Atletico Madrid vs. Juventus

2:45 p.m. – Fox Sports 2 – FC Basel vs. Liverpool

2:45 p.m. – Fox Sports Net – Ludogorets vs. Real Madrid

2:45 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3 – Bayer Leverkusen vs. Benfica

2:45 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3 – Anderlecht vs. Borussia Dortmund

2:45 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3 – Malmo vs. Olympiacos

6:30 p.m. – beIN Sports Connect – Botafogo vs. Santos

7 p.m. – NASL Live – Ottawa Fury vs. Atlanta Silverbacks

9 p.m. – beIN Sports Connect – Corinthians vs. Atletico Mineiro

9 p.m. – Azteca America – Morelia vs. Pachuca

9 p.m. – Univision Deportes – Club America vs. Veracruz

10 p.m. – Univision Deportes 2 – Chiapas vs. Universidad Guadalajara

10 p.m. – ESPN Deportes – Club Tijuana vs. Cruz Azul

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MLS Ticker: Orlando City to play three preseason games in Brazil; Pogatetz could make debut; and more Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:37:44 +0000 Continue reading »]]> KevinMolinoOrlandoCity2 (OrlandoCitySC)


Following the signing of superstar Kaka, Orlando City have developed quite the contingent of Brazilian fans. With the club’s inaugural season just months away, the MLS newcomers are set to begin their first MLS campaign by paying a visit to their samba supporters.

Orlando City owner Flávio Augusto da Silva announced Tuesday via Facebook that the club was planning a three-game preseason against undetermined opponents in Brazil ahead of the club’s MLS debut in 2015.

“2015 is coming and a pre-season in Brazil is planned for the beginning of the year,” da Silva wrote. “We will do three games in Brazil with three great teams in three different cities. Which Brazilian team you would like to see play Orlando City in 2015?”

The preseason tour is Orlando City’s latest move into developing a Brazilian fan base, as the club has already unveiled a Portuguese-language Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channel.

Here are some more of Wednesday’s MLS news and notes:


In the midst of a playoff battle, the Columbus Crew could see their backline boosted as soon as Saturday by the debut and return of a pair of defenders.

Defenders Emmanuel Potagetz and Justin Williams each featured in the Crew’s scrimmage with the NASL’s Indy Eleven Tuesday. Potagetz, who joined the club in September, played 63 minutes in his first action with his new team.

“It’s so different (from) training, so it was important that I got the opportunity to play today,” Pogatetz told the Columbus Dispatch. “It was only (63) minutes, but for my first game in nearly three months it was enough. I liked it and it was a good training for me and another step forward in the right direction.”

“From a leadership standpoint, from a communication standpoint, it was all there,” added head coach Gregg Berhalter. “You could see he’s a little bit rusty and he needs to get into the rhythm of playing games, but overall we’re pleased.”

Meanwhile, Williams made his long-awaited return Tuesday, as the Crew’s most tenured player has missed the past four months after having surgery to remove a rib after he developed a blood clot back in June. Williams, who played both right back and center back, suffered a collision just minutes into his return.

“I took a hard knock there, and in midair I was kind of like, ‘I wonder how I’m going to bounce back from this,’ ” Williams said. “I landed all right and popped back up. That was the one, you kind of get a test, and that was definitely it. Once I had a bounce-back from that, I knew I’d be alright.”

“I think it was a positive performance,” Berhalter said of Williams. “I think it’s a big boost for the team to have him back.”


The New England Revolution are the latest MLS side to find an overseas partner.

The Revs announced Wednesday that the club has partnered with Sporting Club de Portugal to better develop and share training methods between the two teams. In addition, the Revs will be able to bring in Sporting players on loan, while the two’s youth sides will also spend time training with one another.

“We’re very excited to partner with a club with such history and prestige as Sporting Club De Portugal,” said Revs president Brian Bilello. “The opportunity to not only partner on activities to improve our first team, but also to work with their prestigious academy on youth development, will benefit our club for many years. We will also assist Sporting in their efforts to explore opportunities to increase Sporting’s reach within the United States, both on and off the field.”

“Sporting has been one of the most consistent and successful programs in Europe, and we’re looking forward to working with their staff to share best practices, player talent and scouting resources,” added general manager Michael Burns. “Both clubs have been recognized for our youth development programs, and we’re anticipating a tremendous shared benefit by this partnership.”


After nearly a month of speculation, Zat Knight is finally a Colorado Rapid.

The club announced Wednesday that the English defender’s visa had finally been approved and that Knight could be set to feature as early as Sunday when the Rapids take on the Seattle Sounders.

“It’s been a long process, getting all the paperwork finished, but I’m really thrilled to be here,” said Knight. “I’ve followed the club’s matches while being back in England and am working hard to get into the mix quickly and contribute the best I can for the final matches of the season.”

Prior to joining the Rapids, Knight featured for Fulham, Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers while also earning a pair of caps with the England National Team.


After spending the last three years with the club’s Soccer Development Academy, Alejandro Zendejas is set to join FC Dallas.

FC Dallas announced Wednesday that the club had signed the 16-year-old  midfielder as the team’s league leading 13th homegrown player. Zendejas marks the club’s first signing from youth affiliate FC Dallas El Paso since the partnership began in Sept. 2011.

“Zendejas is a very complete player,” said FC Dallas assistant coach Josema Bazan. “He is a left-footed midfielder that can pass very well and be creative. He is very composed in front of the goal. If the game changes and you need to be tough defensively, he can do that as well. But for me, his best quality is that when you pass him the ball, he can go in any direction. He is very aware of where the pressure is coming from and he can escape.”

Zendehas was recently called into the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team squad for this week’s Panama U-17 International Tournament.


Sporting KC’s Eric Palmer-Brown has been heralded as one of the league’s most promising young defenders, but the 17-year old’s MLS career will be put on hold until 2015 due to injury.

The club announced Tuesday that Palmer-Brown is set to miss the remainder of the 2014 season with a stress fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his right foot suffered in training Tuesday. The defender underwent is expected to undergo surgery Friday.

Palmer-Brown made six appearances in all competitions for Sporting KC after making his professional debut in May when the 17-year-old became the youngest defender to start an MLS game.


Colorado Rapids midfielder Carlos Alvarez may have seen his celebration as a moment of joy, but the MLS Disciplinary Committee saw it as a suspendable offense.

The league announced Wednesday that Alvarez would be suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for entering the field of play and leaving the bench and technical area. Alvarez, who was warming up on the sideline, ran onto the field to celebrate a Gabriel Torres goal late in the Rapids’ eventual 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Meanwhile, Sporting KC defender Igor Juliao was fined an undisclosed amount for violating the league’s policy regarding hands to face of an opponent. Juliao appeared to slap Revolution forward Charlie Davies in stoppage time of the Revs 3-2 win.

Finally, RSL head coach Jeff Cassar was fined due to improper bench behavior in his side’s 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps.


Ben Swanson has been on the Columbus Crew’s radar for quite some time now and the 17-year-old is now set to join up with the team for an extended period of time.

Swanson played 80 minutes of the team’s scrimmage with Indy Eleven Tuesday before limping off with an undisclosed injury. Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter is excited to work with the young midfielder and was pleased with his play in Tuesday’s action.

“I think we’re right in line with our expectations,” Berhalter said. “He’s a guy where we want to figure out the right way to develop him. We’re working through that right now, and it’s a conversation with his parents, with him, about what’s the best for his development.”

Berhalter revealed last week that he was looking to have Swanson practice with the team “indefinitely”, while the club is also looking into signing the 17-year-old in the near future.

“I think when we talk about that, we’re talking about how do we make improvements to the academy that can affect future generations,” Berhalter said. “He’s a guy that is the here and now. He’s a guy that we’d be looking to sign. He’s a guy that we’re interested in and we see him as a guy who can contribute in the short term.”

What teams do you expect to see Orlando City play during their preseason in Brazil? How do you think Palmer-Brown will perform next season? Do you agree with the Disciplinary Committee’s decisions?

Share your thoughts below.

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NYCFC’s Villa to join up with Melbourne City next Tuesday Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:22:20 +0000 Continue reading »]]> DavidVillaMelbourneCity1 (MelbourneCity)


David Villa’s much anticipated loan spell in Australia will begin in earnest on Tuesday.

The Spanish forward made waves over the summer when he became the first player signed to New York City FC, signing a Designated Player contract. Soonafter, it was announced that Villa would be spending October through December down under with Manchester City’s latest property, Melbourne City FC.

The Australian club announced on Monday evening that Villa would arrive on Tuesday, Oct. 7, in time for a launch event ahead of the Hyundai A-League’s opening weekend.

“Villa will commence training with the rest of the 22-man Melbourne City FC squad immediately after his arrival,” a press release read. “From that point he will be available for selection.” Villa has been given the No. 9 jersey for the upcoming season.

Melbourne City kick off their season on Saturday with a trip to face Sydney FC. If Villa were to play through the end of December, the Spaniard could play 13 league matches.

Since returning from the World Cup with the Spanish National Team, Villa has been in the process of moving his wife and two children into their new home in New York as well as training on his own to try and stay as fit as he can.

“The overall goal is to help the team perform well while I am there, support the Melbourne City FC team, build relationships, enjoy the style of football the league [in Australia] has to offer and, obviously, I want to do my job well and help Melbourne City to win as many games as possible,” Villa said in the press release.

“From what I have heard, my arrival has generated a lot of high expectations for the club and I hope that I can meet them – and that I can help the players, the coach and the entire team to perform well this season. Hopefully, I’ll be able to play at my best level in order to help the team.”

Villa’s last competitive game came on June 23 in a 3-0 victory against Australia at the World Cup. Villa scored in the game, which will likely be his final appearance for the Spanish National Team.

Villa, like fellow NYCFC Designated Player Frank Lampard, is expected to return to New York in January when the team convenes ahead of the 2015 MLS season.


What do you think of this news? How do you see Villa playing in Australia? Do you believe this move is good for NYCFC? Worried he may suffer an injury?

Share your thoughts below.

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UCL Preview: Arsenal look to rebound vs. Galatasaray; Atleti visit Juventus; and more Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:49:07 +0000 Continue reading »]]> Mesut Ozil of Arsenal shows a look of dejection

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Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League campaign began in less-than-convincing fashion, but their home opener in the 2014/2015 edition is a chance for them to turn their fortunes around.

The Gunners, who will be without stalwarts Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta due to muscular injuries, will take on Turkish giants Galatasaray at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, giving the hosts a chance to bring back some positive momentum to north London. Arsenal were dominated by Borussia Dortmund in match-day one as the Germans topped Arsenal, 2-0, at Signal Iduna Park.

Galatasaray meanwhile could only draw Anderlecht, 1-1, and will need a strong performance to prove that they deserve to advance from Group D.

Elsewhere, Spanish champions Atletico Madrid host Italian champions Juventus in a high-profile match-up in Madrid. Atleti were stunned in match-day one when Olympiacos beat Diego Simeone’s team, 3-2, but are coming off a dominate 4-0 victory last Saturday against Sevilla.

Juventus meanwhile have some difficult lineup decisions to make, with a matchup against renewed power AS Roma looming next Sunday.

Also in action on Wednesday, Real Madrid head off to Bulgaria to face minnows Ludogorets in front of a packed house in Sofia, Bulgaria, Liverpool hit the road to face FC Basel, Borussia Dortmund take on American Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht, Olympiacos visit Malmo FF, FC Zenit host AS Monaco, and Bayer Leverkusen host Benfica.

Here’s a full list of today’s UCL action:

12 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3 – FC Zenit vs. AS Monaco

2:45 p.m. – Fox Sports 1 – Arsenal vs. Galatasaray

2:45 p.m. – ESPN 2 – Atletico Madrid vs. Juventus

2:45 p.m. – Fox Sports 2 – FC Basel vs. Liverpool

2:45 p.m. – Fox Sports Net – Ludogorets vs. Real Madrid

2:45 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3 – Bayer Leverkusen vs. Benfica

2:45 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3 – Anderlecht vs. Borussia Dortmund

2:45 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3 – Malmo vs. Olympiacos


What do you think of today’s UCL matchups? Which games stand out the most to you?

Share your thoughts below.

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RSL defeat Sacramento Republic in friendly in front of sold-out crowd Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:07:29 +0000 Continue reading »]]> VelasquezLopez-RSLSacramentoRepublic-USAToday

 Photo by Chris Nicoll / USA TODAY Sports


Just days after winning the USL Pro championship in the club’s inaugural season, Sacramento Republic were back in action against MLS opposition.

Republic FC, who captured the league title Saturday with a 2-0 victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders, fell by that same scoreline Tuesday in a sold-out friendly with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium thanks to second-half goals from RSL’s Robbie Findley and Sebastian Velasquez.

RSL, long famous for their diamond formation, opted to use the friendly as a chance to experiment with a 4-3-3, while also giving debuts to homegrown player Justen Glad and goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez. Meanwhile, Republic FC boasted a lineup full of regulars including star forward Rodrigo Lopez and 2014 USL PRO Defender of the Year Nemanja Vukovic.

After a prodding first half that saw both teams earn chances to score, Findley opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game’s second stanza with a penalty kick.

Republic FC defender Micky Daly, who nearly scored a goal of his own in the 35th minute, was called for the penalty in the 57th minute after seemingly stripping Findley of the ball on the edge of the box. However, Daly’s tackle was ruled a foul, as Findley stepped up to the spot and converted to give RSL the lead.

Findley nearly added a second goal via a one-on-one opportunity in the 63rd minute, but the RSL forward’s effort curled just wide of the far post. Cole Grossman also had his chance to increase RSL’s advantage in the 80th minute, but the defender’s open look from the top of the box sailed just over the crossbar.

The hosts were finally able to double their lead in extra time via Velasquez, whose left footed curler sealed victory for RSL.

The scoring sequence was kickstarted by forward Devon Sandoval, who won his side the ball deep in Republic FC’s half. Sandoval’s tackle saw the ball head to RSL defender Rich Balchan, who played Velasquez into enough space to rip a shot past Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek.

RSL, who currently sit in third place in the Western Conference, return to action Sunday with a trip to StubHub Center to take on Chivas USA.

Check out the match highlights below:

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Wednesday Kickoff: Costa defies Mourinho, accepts Spain call-up; Totti inspired by Man City tweet; and more Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:02:25 +0000 Continue reading »]]> DiegoCostaSpainISI



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Despite his manager’s advice to skip out on international duty, Diego Costa is prepared to represent La Roja next week.

The Chelsea forward had been advised by manager Jose Mourinho to use the upcoming international break as a rest period, but Costa has declared himself healthy to accept a call up to Spain’s upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers with Slovakia and Luxembourg.

Costa, who made the one-time switch to play for Spain earlier this year before featuring in the World Cup, insists he does not want to get caught up in a “club versus country war”, despite going against Mourinho’s request.

“I have already had enough with the issue about Brazil,” Costa said. “Now I must stay relaxed to be able to work and do things well, with the national team too.

“I hope I am okay to go with Spain,” Costa continued. “If I played 90 minutes (for Chelsea) it is clear that I am fine, I am feeling better all the time, and it is (del Bosque’s) decision .”

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Wednesday morning:


Francesco Totti started scoring goals for Roma long before the invention of Twitter, but that doesn’t mean the 38-year-old forward isn’t caught up on the latest social media trends.

Prior to kickoff of Roma’s Champions League clash with Manchester City, the English club posted a tweet questioning the Italian’s history of goalscoring on English soil. Totti responded by scoring the equalizing goal in the 1-1 draw, which he admits was inspired by Man City’s use of social media.

“City’s tweet? It really brought me luck,” Totti said. “It was a beautiful goal and a good performance. “I really wanted to score as soon as possible as I had not found the back of the net this season.But above all, I am thrilled for my team because we have shown a lot of strength, which was not easy.”

Totti’s finish saw the Roma forward set the mark for oldest Champions League goalscorer by beating out the record previously held by Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs.

“It really wasn’t something I was thinking of when I was on the pitch,” Totti said. “Records arrive thanks to the help of your team-mates and what really matters is the result of the team. My main focus is on the team and not on myself.”


Regardless of whether or not Daniel Sturridge makes his club return this weekend, manager Brendan Rodgers insists he will not be set to feature for his country any time soon.

The Liverpool manager revealed Tuesday that Sturridge could potentially make his return from injury this weekend while also stating his belief that the forward should be kept out of England’s Euro qualifiers next week. Sturridge, who has missed the past three weeks with a thigh strain, was originally hurt during his last stint with the national team.

“He won’t be fit,” Rodgers said. “Whether he is available for the weekend or not he won’t be fit. “We are hoping he can develop over the next 24 hours and train with the team on Thursday and be available for some involvement and be in the squad on Saturday. But if you are talking about players availability they need to be fit to play and Daniel will not be fit to play.”

Rodgers has made his frustration known since Sturridge’s injury, although the Liverpool manager has yet to speak with England manager Roy Hodgson since the incident.

“It’s something we have already stressed,” Rodgers said. “My focus is on protecting the Liverpool players and at this moment in time, my focus is on getting him fit for Liverpool.

“I have not spoken to Roy since then. We have good dialogue and he knows he can call and speak about any of the players. Hopefully, he will have found anything I have ever said helpful about the England players working with Liverpool.”


Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is set to miss time due to a fractured rib. (REPORT)

Sevilla forward Carlos Bacca has signed a new deal to remain with the Spanish club until 2018. (REPORT)

Swansea City has denied takeover talks while admitting that the club is looking for new avenues to improve the club’s finances. (REPORT)

Al Ain’s Asamoah Gyan has accused Al Hilal midfielder Mihai Pintilii of racial abuse. (REPORT)

What do you think about Costa’s declaration? How far can Totti and Roma go this season? Where do you stand on the club versus country debate facing both Costa and Sturridge?

Share your thoughts below.


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