A closer look at MLS’s recent expansion

MLS announced its latest expansion team in Atlanta on Wednesday, but the move showed that there is no one set way to gain entrance into the league.

On Women’s Soccer: Is the USWNT’s 4-3-3 formation here to stay?

The USWNT started in a 4-3-3 their last two games, even through a coaching change. Could this mean the formation is the way of the future for the U.S. Women?

Reports: Brooks benched over large back tattoo

According to report, John Brooks was recently benched at Hertha Berlin because of a tattoo he recently got done.

Klopas to remain Fire head coach

FrankKlopas (Getty)

Frank Klopas helped a struggling Chicago Fire transform from league laughing stock to legitimate playoff contender in less than a season and has been rewarded with a chance to keep doing the job he did so well this past season.

The Fire will remove the interim tag from Frank Klopas' interim head coaching position and make him the team's head coach for the 2012 MLS season, multiple sources with knowledge of the move told Fox Soccer on Tuesday.

Klopas guided the Chicago Fire to the U.S. Open Cup Final, where they lost to the Seattle Sounders, and led them to an 8-6-10 record after the team started 1-4-6 under former head coach Carlos De Los Cobos. Chicago finished the season on a strong 7-2-3 run led by the goal-scoring of Dominic Oduro and midfield play of Sebastian Grazzini, Pavel Pardo and Marco Pappa.

What do you think of this development? Think Klopas can help the Fire return to their glory?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in MLS- Chicago Fire | 12 Comments

Wednesday Kickoff: MLS looks into Baltimore, Cassano needs surgery & more

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Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com

As D.C. United continues its quest to find a new stadium location, MLS continues its exploration into whether Baltimore is a viable market for league expansion.

The league sent out a survey to fans in the Baltimore area in an effort to gauge interest in an MLS franchise in the city. Almost a year ago, the Maryland Stadium Authority completed a viability study to determine the benefits of potentially building a soccer-specific stadium in the Westport area of the city, where a prospective MLS franchise would ultimately play.

An interesting note from the survey is that not all of the questions pointed to D.C. United as the only potential club to play in Baltimore. One of the questions asked if a fan could choose to have a club relocate to Baltimore which team would it be, listing Columbus, FC Dallas, D.C., Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls or No Preference as the options. 

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:

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Posted in European Soccer, MLS- D.C. United, MLS- Expansion | 93 Comments

Viktoria Plzen 0, Barcelona 4: Match Highlights

Posted in Match Highlights, UEFA Champions League | 2 Comments

Galaxy Notebook: Birchall looking to fill in, HDC at limited capacity and more

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By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. – Depth all over the field has been one of cornerstones to the Los Angeles Galaxy's success this season, and if they are to advance past the New York Red Bulls in Thursday's Western Conference semifinal second leg, they will need their bench to be decisive yet again.

A red card to Brazilian midfielder Juninho in a post-game scuffle after the first leg will cost the Galaxy one of their key contributors for Thursday's second leg against the Red Bulls. Chris Birchall appears the most likely to fill in for Juninho as the Galaxy hope to hold their 1-0 aggregate lead against New York, but he is not the only possibility.

"We have plenty of options, we'll make that decision by Thursday," said head coach Bruce Arena on Wednesday. "Birchall is an option, and we have three or four guys that we're considering. He's an experienced player that has played a number of games and he and David [Beckham] have played a number of games together."

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Posted in MLS- LA Galaxy | 45 Comments

UCL Rewind: Messi scores 200th goal, Chelsea held by Genk and more

Messi (Getty Images)

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Lionel Messi took another step towards becoming the most prolific goal-scorer in Barcelona's history as the 24-year-old striker scored his 200th, 201st and 202nd goal for the club.

Messi's clinical penalty kick was the opening goal in Barcelona's straight-forward 4-0 victory over Viktoria Plezen as the defending champions officially booked a place in the knockout rounds and take pole position in Group H.

Messi drew the penalty in the 22nd minute with a cutback inside the box and was fouled by Marian Cisovsky. Cisovsky was show a red card and Messi sent Roman Pavlik the wrong way on the ensuing spot kick. Messi's second came in first-half stoppage time with a left-footed shot from the center of the penalty area. Cesc Fabregas added a third with a close-range header before Messi completed his hat trick just before the final whistle.

The only concern for Barcelona will be the suspension of Dani Alves for the upcoming match with AC Milan. The Brazilian left back picked up a yellow card in the 49th minute.

Here is a look back at the other Champions League results.

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Posted in European Soccer | 15 Comments

MLS Spotlight: Seattle a perfect fit for Alonso

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By JOSÉ M. ROMERO

Osvaldo Alonso honestly felt that this could be the year for his Seattle Sounders.

He said as much late last week, before the Sounders were blasted 3-0 at Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the MLS Western Conference semifinals. Now Seattle is on the brink of elimination, and will rely heavily on its star midfielder, Alonso, if it hopes to advance to the next round.

The Sounders without Alonso is like a ship without a navigator. It is Alonso who helps spark the attack, plays tenacious defense, typically bosses the midfield and is hardly shy when it comes to challenging for the ball. Throw in the fact that he has a dangerous shot from distance and runs miles up and down the pitch on game nights chasing attackers and keeping possession, and the Sounders have their man in the middle.

That's why the club made it such a high priority to sign him to a contract extension last year, one that should keep him in the Pacific Northwest through the 2014 season. Management and coaches saw that tenacity and those skills, and wanted to hang onto them as Alonso, 25, eases into the prime years of his career.

"We knew he was a bulldog who covered a lot of ground, but the first year, he surpassed our expectations," general manager Adrian Hanauer told the Seattle Times last week. 

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Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS Playoffs, MLS- Seattle Sounders | 42 Comments

Confident Bunbury striking at right time

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Photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com


By AVI CREDITOR

Teal Bunbury doesn't accept success as a given, even if things are set up quite nicely for him on a couple of levels.

Bunbury, who scored both goals in Sporting Kansas City's 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids in the first leg of the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals, has the scales tilted heavily in his favor heading into Wednesday night's second leg match at Livestrong Sporting Park (Wed., 8 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel).

The defending-champion Rapids are completely depleted in the back. With Drew Moor and Kosuke Kimura out injured and Tyrone Marshall suspended, Colorado is left with few options in defense. Rookie fullback Eddie Ababio and seldomly used Scott Palguta and Danny Earls join Marvell Wynne and Miguel Comminges as selection options for coach Gary Smith and give Sporting KC's attacking corps a decisive advantage. Bunbury's having none of that, though.

"I try to prepare myself the same way no matter who I'm going up against," Bunbury said. "Colorado has a good squad. The guys they bring in, they're going to perform and they know that it's a big game. Regardless of who's really playing, I do the things that I try and control, and that's working hard and playing for my teammates."

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Posted in MLS- Sporting Kansas City | 27 Comments

Rosales will miss second leg vs. RSL

MauroRosales (Getty)

The Seattle Sounders sorely missed injured playmaker Mauro Rosales during their 3-0 Western Conference semifinal first leg loss to Real Salt Lake, and now it appears the Sounders won't have Rosales for their crunch second-leg clash at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday either.

Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid told the Seattle Times that Rosales will not play on Wednesday as he is still dealing with the knee injury he suffered in the Sounders' regular season finale against Chivas USA.

The Sounders offense struggled badly against RSL in the first leg, failing to produce a single shot on goal during their blowout loss, and must now find away to erase a three-goal deficit without their leading assist man and creative spark.

The Seattle Times also reported that Rosales may be available for a Western Conference final if Seattle can manage to come back and beat RSL.

Think Seattle can come back without Rosales? Who do you see stepping up for the Sounders in his absence?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in MLS Playoffs, MLS- Seattle Sounders | 46 Comments