Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Timmy Chandler aims to make his return from a knee injury, Aron Johannsson attempts to get out of a bit of a slump, and more in this upcoming weekend’s Americans Abroad action.

A closer look at the USMNT depth chart: Central Midfielders

In the latest installment in SBI’s “A Closer Look at the USMNT Depth Chart” series, we look at the players competing for World Cup roster spots in central midfield.

Video: Klinsmann talks Dempsey, U.S. Under-21 team and more

Jurgen Klinsmann discusses Clint Dempsey’s outstanding MLS form, the recent U.S. Under-21 Men’s National Team camp, and more in this latest video interview with U.S. Soccer.

Nashville, Carson, Kansas City to host CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers

CONCACAF

Feel free to begin making your plans to catch the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.

CONCACAF announced that the tournament will take place at three sites in the United States starting in late March, with eight teams vying for two spots at the 2012 Olympics in London. So far, the United States, Mexico, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama have qualified for the tournament.

Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., will host the semifinals of the tournament on March 31, with the winners not only moving on to the April 2 final (which will also be played in Kansas City), but also cementing berths at the Summer Olympics.

Prior to that, one group will play its games at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., on March 22, 24 and 26. The other will play its games at the Home Depot center in Carson, Calif., on March 23, 25 and 27, and the top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals.

What do you think about the site choices? Planning on going to the games? Excited that Kansas City will be hosting the final?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in CONCACAF, U.S. Men's Olympic Team | 23 Comments

SBI’s 2011 MLS Best XI

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The 2011 Major League Soccer season was arguably the best in league history, from both a competition and entertainment standpoint, and as a result, it made for some tough calls when deciding on the league's Best XI.

MLS commissioner Don Garber will announce the league's official Best XI later today, but based on the voting of the SBI editorial staff (Ives Galarcep, Avi Creditor, Adam Serrano, Mike Nastri, Jose Romero, Thomas Floyd, Joey Samuel), we came up with a first, second and third team to honor those who put forth standout performances this season.

Four players were unanimous selections to SBI's Best XI, and three players were repeat selections from our 2010 SBI MLS Best XI.

Now, without further ado, here is SBI's 2011 MLS Best XI:  

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Posted in Major League Soccer, SBI MLS Awards, SBI MLS Best XI | 61 Comments

Thursday Kickoff: West Brom eyeing Ream, Nguyen on verge of MLS and more

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Photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphoto.com

The Tim Ream buzz in England continues to spread throughout the Premier League.

After reports surfaced that Arsenal had a summer bid for the New York Red Bulls centerback rejected and was scouting Ream during the MLS playoffs comes word that West Brom has invited Ream for a trial and is reportedly into offering a loan to the 24-year-old defender. 

Ream recovered from an inconsistent second season in MLS to finish strong, especially against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the playoffs, but he was passed over by U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the upcoming friendlies against France and Slovenia after being a staple of the manager's rosters since August.

Here are a few more stories to get your Thursday going:

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Posted in Americans Abroad, European Soccer, MLS- New York Red Bulls | 75 Comments

Who is your pick for MLS MVP?

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It is a debate that is sure to heat up in the days leading up the announcment of the final MLS end-of-season awards.

Who is the MLS MVP?

There are candidates scattered throughout MLS, with some candidates having stronger cases than others. In the case of some teams, like Los Angeles and Seattle, you have multiple candidates.

SBI will announce its staff-selected choice for MLS MVP next week, but for now, we want to hear from SBI readers on who they think is the right pick to be the 2011 MLS MVP.

We are presenting SBI readers with a 10-player ballot. In the interest of avoiding the splitting up of votes, we only have one player per team, which left out some good candidates, but this is the most fair way to present the ballot.

Now, without any further ado, cast your MLS MVP vote after the jump:

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Posted in Major League Soccer, SBI MLS Awards | 84 Comments

SBI Live Q&A (Nov. 9th Edition)

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It is time to talk all things soccer in the latest SBI Live Q&A.

We have plenty of topics to discuss this time around. Whether it's the U.S. national team, MLS, college soccer or European and international soccer, we can talk about it for the next few hours.

Let's jump right in and get started (Live Q&A is after the jump):

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Posted in SBI Live Q&A | 14 Comments

SBI 2011 MLS Defender of the Year: Omar Gonzalez

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There were plenty of standout defenders in MLS this year, and several who could make cases for being the top defender in the league, but it is tough to argue that there was a better defender in 2011 than Omar Gonzalez.

The LA Galaxy centerback was the leader and foundation for the best defense in MLS, improving his game in every facet and going from being an All-Star caliber defender to a dominant force who was key to LA winning the Supporters Shield and reaching the MLS Cup Final. For that, Gonzalez was SBI's choice for 2011 MLS Defender of the Year.

Gonzalez was the unanimous selection for the award, finishing first on all seven SBI ballots. A total of seven different defenders made their way onto ballots, though there were four who were ahead of the pack.

Here is how the rest of the field for SBI MLS Defender of the Year shook out:

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Posted in MLS- LA Galaxy, SBI MLS Awards | 56 Comments

Big Ten Tournament Preview

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

It's no seceret that the Big Ten has been underperforming in 2011 but the lack of a dominant team should make for an interesting tournament as the Big Ten Tournament kicks off at the University of Michigan.

Indiana is the lone ranked team in the Big Ten but a loss against Wisconsin and draws against Northwestern and Michigan State has relegated the Hoosiers to the No. 4 seed and face a difficult road to the final. Northwestern is the only side with an automatic bye into the semifinals and are the only team unbeaten in conference play. 

Sixth-seeded Michigan is playing with desperation and is hoping to replicate its postseason success from last season. Nothing short of a conference title will get the Wolverines into the NCAA tournament, but their recent shocking upset of Akron provided a glimpse of Michigan's potential.

No. 3 Wisconsin and No. 2 Ohio State in need a couple of wins to garauntee a place in the NCAA tournament. The two schools are 38th and 43rd, respectively, in the RPI, which puts them in need of some help to force their way into the tournament.

The worst-case scenario for the Big Ten as a whole is if Indiana rolls past Northwestern and claims the conference title. The selection committee could look down on Northwestern's 4-0 loss to DePaul and a defeat to Eastern Illinois and leave the conference with only one team in the NCAA tournament.

Here is a look at the full schedule for the Big Ten conference tournament:

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Posted in College Soccer | 3 Comments

Boston College upsets Maryland, Virginia wins in overtime in ACC quarterfinals

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If Tuesday's quarterfinals were any indication of how the rest of the ACC Tournament is going to play out, we are in for one wild tournament.

Defending champion Maryland saw its title defend end after one match as Boston College jumped out to an early two-goal lead before holding off a fierce comeback to post a 2-1 upset victory on Tuesday night.

BC, the No. 7 seed in the tournament, opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Diego Medina-Mendez finished off a Charlie Rugg shot that came off the post. Rugg added his own goal just four minutes later when he raced onto a long pass and finished off his eighth goal of the season. The No. 2 seeded Terps pulled one back courtesy of Casey Townsend, but never found the equalizer.

Boston College will now face Duke in the ACC semifinals on Friday after the Blue Devils posted a penalty kick shootout victory over Clemson. The No. 3 seed Blue Devils failed to finish off the No. 6 Tigers in regulation, and with the match scoreless after two overtimes, Duke goalkeeper James Belshaw made the match-winning penalty save to send Duke to the semis.

In the most dramatic finish of the quarterfinals,

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Posted in College Soccer | 3 Comments