MLS Week 21: A Look Ahead

Fresh off of a 3-0 midweek victory over the Seattle Sounders, the LA Galaxy host the Portland Timbers in a Western Conference clash.

Report: Lampard to sign short-term deal with Manchester City

Frank Lampard is reportedly set to complete a short-term loan to Manchester City

Olave suspended two matches for violent conduct

New York Red Bulls centerback Jamison Olave has been suspended for two matches for violent conduct towards Olmes Garcia.

U-17 USMNT rebound with rout of Faroe Islands at Nordic Tournament

RichieWilliamsUSSoccer4 (Mexsport)

By DAN KARELL

The U-17 U.S. Men’s National Team brought a little bit of pride back to their team as they closed out the group stage at the Open Nordic Tournament.

In the USA’s final group stage match in the Denmark-hosted tournament, the U-17s thrashed the Faroe Islands, 4-0, to earn a spot in the fifth-place match against Finland on Saturday. McKenzie Gaines scored a brace for the USA in the victory.

Although they struggled to score in their opening matches against Norway and Denmark, the USA scored three times in the first 21 minutes to take control of the match. Dutch-American forward Kai Koreniuk scored the opening goal in the fourth minute of the match, followed by a pair of goals from Gaines in the 14th and 21st minutes.

Substitute Eric Matzelevich added a fourth goal for the USA in the 82nd minute with the game long out of reach for the Faroe Islands.

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Posted in U.S. Youth National Teams | 6 Comments

Liga MX Round 3: A Look Ahead

CuauhtemocBlancoPuebla1-Veracruz (Mexsport)

By DAN KARELL

Club America legend Cuauhtemoc Blanco will face his former club for the final time on Saturday when Puebla host America in the third round of the Liga MX Apertura.

A sellout is expected at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc for the match, and the 41-year-old Blanco is expected to play 30-40 minutes. It will be a tough test for Puebla as America enter he encounter with two wins and impressive performances from Osvaldo Martinez, Raul Jimenez, and Pablo Aguilar. U.S. Men’s National Team centerback Michael Orozco will have his hands full keeping America’s staple of attackers in front of him.

Coming off an emphatic 3-1 victory over Leones Negros de Universidad Guadalajara, Monterrey heads into an early-season challenge when they face Los Guerreros of Santos Laguna. Humberto Suazo is fit and scored in the victory, but Santos Laguna seem to be doing all right even without Oribe Peralta as Colombian Andres Renteria has stepped up with two goals in two games.

A batch of American players will be on display on Friday evening as Jose Torres, Herculez Gomez, and Tigres UANL visit Gomez’s former team in Club Tijuana. Tijuana are still looking for their first win of the Liga MX Apertura season, falling to both America and Puebla in their first two matches. Club Leon also attempts to win their first game of the season when they host Morelia on Saturday evening.

Here’s a full rundown of this weekend’s schedule in the Liga MX, complete with TV listings:

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Posted in Mexican Soccer | 2 Comments

Friday Kickoff: Ochoa set to sign for Malaga; Cavani prefers to stay; and more

GuillermoOchoaMexico3-CroatiaWorldCup2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Mexico National Team goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa has found a new club.

According to multiple reports, the shaggy-haired Ochoa is set to sign a three-year contract with La Liga side Malaga, joining after his contract with AC Ajaccio expired in June. Malaga were looking for a new goalkeeper after losing starter Willy Caballero to Manchester City.

The move to Malaga is Ochoa’s second European destination after landing in Corsica in 2011. Prior to his move to Ajaccio, he starred for Club America in Mexico City.

Ochoa was a star for El Tri at the World Cup, keeping a shutout against Brazil and nearly leading Mexico to the quarterfinals at the expense of the Netherlands, though the Dutch pulled off a late comeback to advance.

Here are some more stories to start off your Friday:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured | 14 Comments

Pizarro lifts Bayern to victory over Chivas in testy friendly before MLS All-Star Game

Claudio Pizarro (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

HARRISON, N.J. — Bayern Munich are heading to the MLS All-Star Game with a little bit of momentum.

Claudio Pizarro scored on a headed effort in the first half and Bayern Munich stood firm defensively to pick up a 1-0 win over Chivas de Guadalajara in an open and feisty friendly at Red Bull Arena on Thursday night.

The German club was in control of its first stateside preseason match for large stretches and outshot its Liga MX counterpart 12-5, but still needed a huge late save from goalkeeper Tom Starke to ensure a victory before next week’s clash with the MLS All-Stars.

“I’m so, so happy for our performance because we are (missing some key players),” said Bayern manager Pep Guardiola. “We have a lot of young, young players, but we have competed very well. That’s why I’m so, so, so proud because I didn’t expect to win our last tournament in Deutschland against Borussia Moenchengladbach and Wolfsburg and we did because the team played with a good attitude and today the same, so I’m happy.”

The decisive strike of the match played in front of 25,023 fans came in the 24th minute. Pizarro, a late addition to Bayern’s starting lineup, met a corner kick from the left from captain Franck Ribery and nodded it past Chivas goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez.

U.S. Men’s National Team youngster Julian Green was on the match-day roster for Bayern, but did not enter the match as he only recently recovered from an injury.

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Posted in European Soccer, International Soccer, Mexican Soccer | 28 Comments

USWNT to face Mexico in pair of September friendlies

Sydney Leroux, Abby Wambach

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

The U.S. Women’s National Team will be hosting Mexico in a pair of friendly matches as part of their final preparations for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which will determine entry into the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

While a venue for the first friendly on Sept. 13 has yet to be announced, the USWNT will return to Rochester for the sixth time and Sahlen Stadium for the fourth time when they take on Mexico on Sept. 18. The match will be televised on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.

Sahlen Stadium is the home of the Western NY Flash and Rochester is the hometown of USWNT forward Abby Wambach. Wambach and USWNT midfielder Carli Lloyd play their club soccer for the Flash.

The matches against Mexico will be the 29th and 30th in USWNT history. The U.S. is 26-1-1 against Mexico, and beat El Tri 7-0 last Sept. in a friendly match at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. The USWNT is also undefeated in Rochester.

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Posted in International Soccer, U.S. Women's National Team, Women's Soccer | 9 Comments

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Greg Garza (USA Today)

By FRANCO PANIZO

If you really dig matchups involving Americans, this weekend might be perfect for you.

There are three games being played outside of MLS that could pit Americans against one another, and Friday’s clash between Club Tijuana and Tigres UANL is arguably the best. The match might see Joe Corona and Greg Garza go up against former teammate Herculez Gomez and Jose Torres in an encounter that pits the 0-2 Xolos against 2-0 Tigres. Corona is the player to keep an eye on after his solid weekend performance and goal-scoring outing in Copa MX on Wednesday.

Another duel will take place in Norway, as Mix Diskerud and Rosenborg BK pay a visit to Michael Stephens and Stabaek IF. Rosenborg are currently in fifth place in the Eliterserien, and are in need of a road victory against their 11th-place opposition in order to potentially jump back into a place with a Europa League berth.

The last game on tap for this weekend that could see Americans go up against one another is Saturday’s Atlas-Chiapas brawl. Edgar Castillo seems a sure bet to once again be in the lineup for Atlas while Farfan’s role is way more unclear given that he came off the bench and scored an own goal last weekend.

Here is who the Americans Abroad battle this weekend: Continue reading »

Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured | 4 Comments

Earthquakes announce Argentine playmaker Perez Garcia as Designated Player signing

Matias Perez Garcia (Getty)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Good things come in small sizes. That is what the San Jose Earthquakes are hoping, at least.

The Earthquakes announced on Thursday that they have signed diminutive attacking midfielder Matias Perez Garcia to a Designated Player deal. The 5-foot-5 Perez Garcia, 29, joins the club after having last played for Club Atletico Tigre in his native Argentina.

“We’re very excited to sign Matias,” said Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson in a statement. “He adds a very experienced, technical attacking quality that will be a great complement to the squad we already have. We look forward to having him join the team.”

Perez Garcia has played for a number of clubs in various leagues throughout his professional career, which began in 2002. Some of the teams he has spent time at include Argentina outfit Lanus, French side Chamois Niortais FC, and Universidad de Chile.

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes | 26 Comments

Who is this year’s biggest MLS All-Star Game snub?

Dom Dwyer

Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

It happens every year: A deserving candidate for the MLS All-Star Game is left off the squad due to roster limitations.

This season is no different. In fact, there might be more players in 2014 than there have been in recent years that have legitimate cases for inclusion.

The MLS All-Star Game in Portland, Oregon, is fast approaching, and attention will soon turn towards the 23 players that will face Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s friendly at Providence Park. But there are several standouts worthy of an All-Star nod that will not be involved, including Sporting Kansas City duo Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber, Vancouver Whitecaps midfield ace Pedro Morales, D.C. United forward Fabian Espindola.

MLS has gone to greater lengths to ensure that as many deserving players as possible can make their way onto the MLS All-Star roster. The amount of players has gone up every year since 2012 and there is more than just the fans’ vote – which is essentially a popularity contest across all sports – as the head coach of the All-Star team picks the majority of the rest of the team before MLS commissioner Don Garber selects the final two participants.

Still, some quality players get unjustly snubbed in the process. The argument that is commonly made is that MLS should make the All-Star Game be between players representing the Eastern and Western Conferences, but even that approach would not guarantee that every player who enjoyed a good first half to the season would get selected.

Here is a look at some of this year’s more notable omissions from the MLS All-Star squad:

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS All-Star Game | 41 Comments