Photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports
By CARL SETTERLUND
The spat between LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena and Major League Soccer headquarters has reached new heights.
According to a report by SI.com, MLS commissioner Don Garber intends to hand down “a major fine” to Arena over comments he made in August regarding the MLS single-entity structure.
“Bruce has the opportunity to be our Tom Landry, our Pat Riley, and he continually puts himself in a position where he acts unprofessionally and he emotionally misstates the facts,” Garber told SI.com.
The four-time MLS Cup champion Arena is one of the most recognizable coaches in the league and has the outspoken personality to match. He expressed displeasure in a Washington Post interview in late August after Arena felt the LA Galaxy’s attempt to acquire Sacha Kljestan was blocked.
“They are children and there have to be adults in the process, and we didn’t have enough of them,” Arena said in August. “I think we are back into the old days in the league when the rules are somewhat arbitrary. Hopefully we will get that straightened out in the offseason.”
By CARL SETTERLUND
Real Madrid’s defense of their UEFA Champions League title begins on Tuesday afternoon.
Los Blancos host FC Basel with their two new midfield additions, Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, each being handed starts, while the famed BBC of (Karim) Benzema, (Gareth) Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo start in the forward three.
Elsewhere in Champions League action, Liverpool return to the competition for the first time since 2009, with Anfield playing host to Ludogorets of Bulgaria. Arsenal hit the road to face former German champions Borussia Dortmund at the packed Signal Iduna Stadium, and Atletico Madrid visit Olympiacos for their Champions League opener.
All eyes will be on PPL Park tonight as the underdog Philadelphia Union host the Supporters’ Shield favorite Seattle Sounders at 7:30pm. The Sounders will be looking for their fourth U.S. Open Cup title, having appeared in five of the last six finals. The Union are no slouch, however, with Sebastien Le Toux, the all-time scoring leader in the U.S. Open Cup on their side. The Union have also only lost once since the start of August.
Meanwhile, back over in North America, D.C. United and the Portland Timbers both face key games in their search to reach the CCL quarterfinals.
Here’s the full schedule of today’s action: Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
It is on to the next potential stadium site for New York City FC.
According to multiple reports on Tuesday morning, NYC FC have begun exploring the option of building a soccer-specific stadium in Queens after plans to construct one near Yankee Stadium failed to materialize. A deal in the Bronx reportedly could not be reached as the club was unable to come to terms with the tenant of a building that occupied part of the site that developers had hoped to build on.
Now, New York City FC are allegedly eyeing a site adjacent to the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens due to the amount of land that could be developed. MLS initially was eyeing Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens as a stadium site for its 21st franchise, but changed its mind and decided it would be best for the club’s owners to select a location for New York City’s first state-of-the-art soccer facility.
NYC FC, who are owned by Manchester City and the New York Yankees, will begin playing in 2015. Their home games are scheduled to be at Yankee Stadium near the site they had recently thought could be an ideal spot for their long-term home.
What do you make of this development? Like the idea of building a stadium on the Queens site adjacent to the Aqueduct Racetrack? Would you have preferred to see NYC FC stick with the Flushing Meadows Corona Park plans instead of this?
Share your thoughts below.
By CARL SETTERLUND
The U.S. Open Cup final isn’t the only big non-MLS fixture today, as both D.C. United and the Portland Timbers look to solidify their position in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage.
D.C. is down Jamaica today for an 8 p.m. match against Waterhouse F.C., the result of which will go a long way toward deciding the winner out of Group 4.
The MLS side won a closely contested meeting between the two at RFK Stadium, but with Waterhouse winning both legs against Tauro of Panama, the Jamaicans are still very much alive.
A win for D.C. United would tie the two clubs with six points apiece and give D.C. the head-to-head tiebreaker. It would also mean they would only need one point in two upcoming matches against the Panamanian side, allowing Ben Olsen to shift his focus back to MLS. Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
In a surprising development, the New York Red Bulls have stated they will not be fielding a USL Pro team in 2015.
Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh told BigAppleSoccer.com on Monday that the club will not be following through with their plans to launch a third division side next season. Roxburgh had said in early 2014 that New York was in the process of creating a USL Pro side that would play at its training facility in Hanover, New Jersey, but things have changed and that is no longer the case.
“We will not have our own team, that much I can tell. We will not have own team,” said Roxburgh. “We will not be creating our own USL Pro team here. That much I can tell you.
“We’re in the process of trying to organize our relationship with someone else.”
No explanation was given as to why the Red Bulls made this decision.
Here are more notes from around MLS:
Photo by Steve Bisig/USA Today Sports Images
By JASON MITCHELL
And then there were two.
The 2014 U.S. Open Cup began last November, with 80 teams. Only the Seattle Sounders and Philadelphia Union remain. And only one will be left standing after the two face off at PPL Park just outside Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
The Sounders have all but made the competition a personal plaything, hoisting the trophy three times since joining MLS in 2009 and reaching the final five times in six seasons. Seattle did lose the 2012 final to Sporting KC on penalties and was eliminated in early-round play last season.
“We’re just happy to be in the Open Cup final again,” head coach Sigi Schmid said at a press conference on Monday. “It’s a tournament that as a club we take very seriously. If you look at our past history, I think that reflects that. We were disappointed last year by getting knocked out early.”
For the Union, the match is a chance to lift the first trophy in club history and to cap an often nerve-shattering route to the final. When MLS teams joined the tournament in mid-June, the Union seemed a long shot to make much noise in either the tournament or league play. But Jim Curtin, named interim head coach in early June after the club sacked John Hackworth, has turned Philadelphia’s season around.
“We’ve had the mantra,” said Curtin on Monday, “that we respect everyone, but we don’t fear anyone. So as dangerous as they are in attack, our guys will be ready to go.”
The match starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast by Comcast in the Philadelphia area and by GolTV nationally. Here’s a round-by-round look at how each team reached the 101st Open Cup final:
By CARL SETTERLUND
With the UEFA Champions League Group Stage kicking off Tuesday afternoon, one of the winningest teams in tournament history will make its return to the competition after a five-year hiatus.
Five-time Champions League winner Liverpool will host Bulgarian champion Ludogorets in one of eight Tuesday fixtures as Groups A, B, C and D all commence. The Reds made it into the tournament six straight seasons the previous decade – beginning with their classic comeback in the 2005 final in Istanbul – but their hasn’t been much European action for Liverpudlians to celebrate lately, going out meekly in recent Europa League appearances in 2010 and 2012.
With Daniel Sturridge out injured, Brendan Rodgers will look to Mario Balotelli to break through for his first Liverpool goal against what should be a manageable opponent.
In terms of competition, it doesn’t get much better than the Group D meeting between Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal. The Gunners are even more shorthanded on the back line than usual, and will hope to outscore the Bundesliga runners-up, who have impressively picked up where they left off last season.
Another key fixture takes place in Group C, where an in-form Bayer Leverkusen side will try to gain the early edge on AS Monaco, which has struggled following a summer fire sale. In a group that also includes Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg, starting off on the right foot will be important.
Other teams in action today include Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Juventus, although none of them play each other. The final four groups will begin their UCL campaign on Wednesday.
Here’s the full schedule of today’s UEFA Champions League action: Continue reading
Photo by Steven Bisig/USA Today Sports
By DAN KARELL
On Tuesday night, an unlikely champion will be crowned in the 2014 U.S. Open Cup.
The two converging story lines at PPL Park are the visiting Seattle Sounders, looking to win their fourth Open Cup title, while the host Philadelphia Union attempt to win their first piece of silverware.
Four months ago, the likelihood of this pair meeting in the final was low, as the two had to pass through a gauntlet of matches just to make it to this point. The Sounders battled through two straight games against MLS opponents in extra time, needing to win on penalty kicks against the San Jose Earthquakes in the fifth round and scoring twice in extra time to down the hated Portland Timbers.
The Union on the other hand came back from a goal down to defeat the New York Cosmos, in a match highlighted by a late-game brawl that saw three players dismissed, while relying on the late-game heroics of Zac MacMath in the penalty kick shootout to advance to the final.
Union interim coach Jim Curtin feels that the late-round obstacles has prepared his team to face the leading side in MLS.
“In these competitions, and Sigi (Schmid) can speak for this, there’s always obstacles, big hurdles that you have to go through,” Curtin said. “Its a competition I’m very familiar with, the grind of it, the fact that the games come mid-week and they come at you fast is a challenging one. You have to juggle lineups, you have to juggle different things. But to be able to have our team rested right now and put a full strength squad out there on Tuesday is very good for us.”
Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Eden Hazard could be on the verge of earning a hefty pay raise.
According to multiple reports in England, Chelsea are set to give the French winger a new five-year contract that would make him the highest paid player in the squad, with reported wages of £10.4 million per year. That would put him above new signings Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, and Thibaut Courtois’ new contract number.
Paris Saint-Germain were very interested in signing Hazard over the summer but Chelsea were able to ward off any reported offers. This new deal is seen as a way to entice the 23-year-old to remain at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard has already scored one goal in four games for the Blues this season, and is coming off a season where he scored 14 English Premier League goals, the highest total on the team.
Here are some more stories to start off your morning:
U.S. Men’s National Team recruit Julian Green had arrived in Hamburg SV likely eager to impress manager Mirko Slomka — but now he has to start over with a new coach. Slomka, who gave Green his first appearance for Hamburg on Sunday in a loss to Hannover, was fired on Monday. Hamburg has had a revolving door of managers, though, firing two last season.
Meanwhile, Michael Bradley did not mince words when discussing a controversial disallowed goal for Toronto FC over the weekend. He criticized Major League Soccer for its handling of officiating and called out referee David Gantar harshly, saying, “He’s just not good enough.”
And it remains to be seen if FIFA President Sepp Blatter might lose any support in his re-election campaign, but his first and only opponent to date has stepped forward. Former FIFA executive Jerome Champagne announced Monday his candidacy for 2015. Champagne said he wants to increase FIFA’s transparency.
Here is a rundown of all the stories featured on SBI Monday:
Report: Hamburg manager fired two days after Julian Green’s debut
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Bradley blasts referee following controversial disallowed goal
MLS Ticker: Espindola’s red card appeal denied; Pogatetz convinced by Berhalter; and more
Monday Evening Ticker: Champagne announces FIFA candidacy, Peru lines up friendly in USA; and more
SBI MLS Player of the Week: Blas Perez
SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Pedro Ribeiro
SBI MLS Team of the Week: Seattle Sounders
OTHER AMERICAN SOCCER
USL Pro Playoff Rewind: Islanders shock Orlando City
NASL Week 11: A Look Back
College Weekend Rewind: Penn State edges Indiana, Georgetown ties UC Irvine, and More
Sunday European Rewind: Manchester United rout QPR; AC Milan win thriller over Parma; and more
Liga MX Round 8: A Look Back
Must-See Goal: Jeremy Menez
Monday Kickoff: Costa Rica wins Copa Centroamericano; Bayern struggling with injuries; and more